Last week, I couldn’t open a magazine or click onto a blog without people talking about taking up new hobbies, getting their finances in order or focussing on their goals.

For teachers, this time of year has always been a fresh start – new schools, new students, new courses. This year, the world and her dog are also getting involved.

The logic is obvious. If we look to how our ancestors lived, September was a time of bringing in crops, showing gratitude for the harvest and settling down into autumn.

Life is naturally based on cycles. In the past, these would have been the tides, the seasons and the phases of the moon. In our modern world, the financial year, school year and even the sports calendar can also affect us.

The type of calendar or cycle is less important than the reminder of time passing. When I lived in Japan, streets were freshly decorated four times a year to acknowledge each new season. The start of autumn and winter were as much a reason to celebrate as spring and summer.

When we mark the passage of time, it becomes so much easier to focus in on our own goals and aspirations. We remember that time is precious and we need to spend it wisely.

If we set goals just once a year, many will be forgotten. If we refocus on our long term aims more regularly we can revisit what is important to us. That might be a successful NQT year, a promotion to a new post or a decision to take a break from teaching.

We only have one life. It’s our duty to live it as well as we can.

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