Monday, 25 June 2018

Are you a teacher suffering from burnout?

Teachers leaving education because they want to teach not be statisticians!

I've personally met quite a few teachers who loved teaching but sadly, regrettably have had to leave the profession they were so passionate about. Why would you do that?

Pressure, Stress, no free time, no family time, and decisions being made at work you don't agree with. Decisions that attempt to monitor and justify the way education is delivered rather than for the benefit of children and our young adults.

The outcome is "teacher burnout" you can only do it for so long. Ex-Teachers can't possibly return to the education system either "as is" because of what it has done to them. What then is to become of these teachers?

Most ex-Teachers will tell you, they love teaching but they can't go back to that. This is a huge waste of talent and a huge resource that has had billions invested in them.

Entrance stage left : Zarina Mo

Zarina 2 years ago would have read the above and identified with every point. A love of teaching but impossible to even consider a return to an environment that shattered her confidence and brought on depression through continual pressure and stress from an education system at breaking point.

But Kids still need to be taught... Parents are more demanding than ever of their children, and have high expectations (not saying this is necessarily a good thing) of achievement. Hence the rise and rise of Private Tutoring.

Two years on

Zarina has a thriving local Tutoring business. But it hasn't been easy Zarina would be the first to admit. How do you set up a business? What about Tax? What about expenses? How do you advertise, get found and generate business? ... isn't this just leaping out of the frying pan into the fire?

Help is at hand

As a teacher, Zarina has documented all the challenges she has faced over the past two years in getting her tutoring business to thrive and in the spirit of 'giving back' during the summer months (quieter period for teachers) she would like to help others on the same path.

Zarina explains most ex-teachers think that you can't just go out and teach. There must be some authorising body or something, an exam, or a certificate, mustn't there? ... the answer is no. Most teachers went to school... then university and then... back to the classroom again, so there is almost a complete absence of time and experience out of academia.

The bottom line is... if you like teaching, you have students who want to learn, you know what you are talking about, the students improve, and parents / children like you and believe you can help, then you can be a tutor.

Final words

As Zarina explains... one of the worst feelings in the world is when you love doing something and you feel that you won't ever be able to do it again. Burnt out teachers are often in this place...

Zarina can help anyone either going through this burn out phase (or even approaching it) to be able to do what they love without the gargantuan bureaucracy of the education system. Private Tutoring is on the rise and this is an expanding market...

If this is you... or even someone you know, then get in touch with Zarina... it might be the best thing you've done all year!

Zarina Mo
Email :

Monday, 11 June 2018

Have you got good news to share in SWHerts?

SWHerts Newsletter for June 2018... did you get your copy? ... probably not! ... that's because we've just had a bit of a clear-out. So if you do want to subscribe then click here.

GDPR has put a lot of fear in people's minds but actually it is an opportunity to review what data you store? Why you are storing it? ... and... what you are doing with it? It also provides an opportunity to look at the different methods we might use to engage with our audience. Facebook Groups are a prime example, a self selected engaged group of people interested in a subject.

In the review of what Link4Growth is seeking to achieve locally it has led us to increase exposure of all the brilliant work that is going on in our communities and the people doing it... 

Below a quick summary of the services being provided through Link4growth in SWHerts :-

  1. An independent space to connect people. This could be people wanting information about what is going on in our community or a service and need a bit of signposting to those who could help. You may have an idea you want to discuss, talk through and are looking to meet people who could support you in that... or you might just want to get out of the house for a few hours and have interesting conversations.
  2. To share all the great news of what is already happening so more of it can be done! There are so many amazing people out there doing great things and a whole army of people who might like to participate... If we can make everything more visible then everyone wins! (we already have all social media in place, newsletters set up, the community hub you are visiting now... and of course the 10 or so community connection events we host each month). 
  3. To grow a Kinder, Collaborative business community. Wouldn't it be great if local businesses worked as a team 'collaboratively' as opposed to 'competitively'? It's much nicer when operating in a supportive and compassionate group... both through the good times AND the tough... we all know how hard it is to run a business... we need all the help and support we can get (and give of course). This service is provided through our Business Development Network... it really is about building our community economy though our local entrepreneurs.
  4. To encourage Learning, and the idea of being the best version of ourselves! ... the world is constantly changing... as are we! ... Indeed if we are to be the best versions of ourselves then regular reflection and ongoing questioning in all that we do is part of it. By picking up new understanding we can make even greater strides in all that we do and support others more effectively.


SWHerts Newsletter (L4G) - Monthly

This is to bring together stories and projects that are going on locally and highlights from Link4Growth activity in SWHerts. Also includes the monthly list of Community Connection Events.

Community Newsletter - Monthly

This newsletter is about community news and increasing participation. If you have a community project, event or news to share about what is happening with what you are involved in then this is where it will feature

Local Business Newsletter - Monthly

Sharing news from those local businesses who have committed to working as a Team and growing our local community economy

Final Words

There are some truly amazing people out there some we already know about the majority we do not. Struggling on with little to no funding and providing services that change people's lives.

We have a wondrous opportunity with the availability of the internet and modern communication to discover something that we can contribute in a way that works for us.

This community belongs to all of us... and if we all did a little bit each we could make a massive change to where we live... and take a small step to co-creating a whole new future!

If it is going to be.... it is up to "WE"

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Commemorating 100... but 100 what?

This year, 2018 will be marked with commemorations of 100th Anniversaries... 

The end of the First World War, the formation of the Royal Air Force and the 1918 Representation of the People Act, giving women the right to vote. Watford Area Arts Forum, Watford Writers and Watford & Bushey Arts Society would like to invite you to express your interpretation on a theme of ‘100’ in art form or in writing. You can use one of the themes listed or any other reflection of 100 years ago or the number 100.

The winner of the competitions will receive a £50 cash prize and The Harrington Trophy, 2nd prize is £30 and 3rd is £20.

On Saturday, 28 July, at 2.30 pm presentations will be made to the winners of the competitions in both categories at Watford Museum. The prizes have been generously donated by Richard Harrington.

Art Challenge

Please submit your work with the theme ‘100’ and your interpretation of this, but please give your pictorial entry a title other than ‘100’.

Entries can be in any form; oils, water colours, pen and ink, collages, photographs etc.

Please bring your entry along to Watford Museum on Wednesday 4 July, between 11am and 4pm. All entries will be on display at the Museum (during normal opening hours) from 5 July until Saturday 28 July. You will have the option of putting your work up for sale, but they will remain in situ until the 28 July We are delighted that Sheelagh Frew Crane, a local artist, has agreed to judge the anonymous entries.

Writing Challenge

Can you come up with 500 words on the theme of ‘100’, they could be in the style of a factual or fictional story that you are bursting to write, or maybe a poem? You might put a modern twist on an old fashioned story or fable, suffragettes, the widows of WW1, or 100 years since Stonehenge.

The deadline for entry is Monday 11 June. The top ten entries will be displayed at Watford Museum, and the winners of the literary competition will be announced at a Watford Writers’ meeting on Monday 9 July at 7.30pm. All entrants are invited to the results night and the presentation event on Saturday 28 July at Watford Museum.

Please note the entries should have no less than 300 words.

More information

Full details for submitting your entry and full rules are available by downloading the following documents: WAAF-100 Art rules | WAAF Competiton- Art entry form 2018 | Literature Entry Form and rules 2018

More details also available are available at:

Queries should be referred to (Literature) or (Art)

Bringing it all together... support for the vulnerable in community

For more years than I can remember there have been small groups of people doing amazing things in the community. Very often these groups have no voice... they have little to no money... they are almost invisible except to those that volunteer day in and day out and the beneficiaries of the work they do.... nevertheless they persist... and this is because of the passion of those providing the services and the absolute belief in what they are doing... 

But it could be so much better...

What if instead of being isolated pockets of 'goodness' each trying their hardest to get by and sustain what they are doing that these groups began to break down the 'made made' barriers... and work collaboratively together. It's a tough gig opening up... you have to accept that things might change (even you) ... that things might operate a little differently going forward, and that it's a team effort not about just one person...

So what a delight to receive the email below...

This is an email from Stephen Phoenix Russell  (Warriors) sent out during May

I will be linking up with New Hope / GROW Hostel / Police and YMCA along with other any relevant agencies/groups that are relevant, for example Jane Johnson's amazing Random Cafe project.

Warriors will be applying to become a CIC which the best way to put it is a non profit company with the mission to improve homelessness and the vulnerably housed. This will also able me to help the other links that I will be working with. Warriors will be able to fund raise and it will be easier to approach companies for support.I will be also looking to supporting Herts MIND Network and New Leaf college where I can, but this will be at a later date when established.

So volunteering wise at present is still going to be seeking donations/picking up and dropping off those donations supporting the evening food stations and Random Cafe by finding and donating food/drinks and support (Support as and when needed.

When the CIC is in place I have been offered a patch at New Watford Market where we can distribute items and use to raise awareness and hopefully along with any of the organisations we will be linked with.

This is my short term goals, taking it slowly and will build up over time! I need to continue building trust with both those on the streets and the agencies/charities I link up with. Long term goal is to have some sort of shop unit with the ability to take on only the homeless to work there improving skills and social awareness and give them a fighting chance to move on and find jobs of their own.

So that is my dream and long term project and of course this is a while off for now but the research and prep starts now.


New socks
New Boxers
New Knickers
Jogging bottoms
Rain jackets

Sleeping bags
Ruck sacks
Water bottles
2 man tents

Chocolate bars

Mostly non perishable but as Random Cafe's mission is to feed bellies and not bins and are hugely into not wasting food you can let us know what you have and can distribute to the cafe as they have one every Saturday. Evening food stations will need different items and would be best to ask them on their group "Food for thought

Final Words

There is a real energy in #Watford these days with collaboration and co-creation at the centre. Still a huge way to go... but as more of us as individuals begin to take more responsibility for what is happening in our streets and realise that we are part of the reason why these challenges exist... then the faster we can change things and help those in need find the answers that work for them...