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Thank you to the numerous folk who’ve sent messages asking what my “word” is for this year.


To backtrack for a moment, I’ve invested in choosing a word each year to influence my conduct, decision making and mindset. And I’m a bit funky about it. I generally reject the usual corporate speak of words like progress, growth and work-life balance.  (I vomited in my mouth a little just writing that).


Instead, previous year’s words have been blob (a reminder to move slowly and to consume opportunities just as they present), useful (a reminder to park the ego during a Covid year and just help out when I can) and footsteps (a nudge to focus on covering distance rather than worrying about whether I’d arrived at a destination or not).


I also pop a visual reminder in the office as a daily prompt to act congruently with my word. Blob got a pink blob monster on my desk, useful was a can opener and footsteps was an old boot.


2024’s word is Roar. I’ve reflected that I’ve been a little quiet, subtle and concessional in my advocacy for working restoratively and for change in our schools in recent times. I’ve left mean-spirited and damaging approaches or comments go unchallenged, permitting them to pervade and influence good educators the wrong way.


This doesn’t mean I need to be undignified. The best roarers tend to be the most regal animals of the jungle. I won’t be picking additional fights on social media or denigrating people for their opinions publicly.


But I am going to be prouder and louder when it comes to my steadfast belief that our schools need stronger, more relational, more fair and more restorative cultures than they ever have.


Luckily, as a supporter of Richmond in the AFL, I’ve got plenty of Tiger stuff laying around to remind me to roar.  A Richmond scarf will adorn the Real Schools office in 2024 (despite the fact I don’t anticipate too many victories).


I’d love you to think of a word for 2024 and let me know via reply email to make yourself accountable. But I’d also love to know why you’ve chosen  that word and what your visible prompt to live it will be.


Keep fighting that good fight,


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