A day in the life of a Thrive trainer

5th July 2022| Blogs

By Ali Martin, Thrive trainer and consultant.



Starting the day

It is 8am and I should be up and about, making sure my top half looks very professional and clean - not so concerned about the waist down these days as the whole of me is so very rarely seen thanks to remote working. Note to self, is this a day eight, or joy day, of Thrive Licensed Practitioner training? If so, I may need to check my bottom half too – these involve getting up, moving around and dancing on screen so very important that I remember to put trousers on! 

Before I leave my bed, I go through my checklist. What resources do I need? What Zoom meeting room do I need to be in? Am I co-training today or flying solo? Are there any emails from delegates with last minute worries, needs or apologies?  Is anyone else  attending today’s session to either observe or catch up? If so, do I know their names?



Coffee and oxytocin 

Ok, I’m up and ready. First stop, kettle. I fill my flask with enough coffee to last the first half of a three-hour session. My journey to work is pleasant and involves a quick trot down the stairs, admiring the view out of the window onto the camper van and the very neglected vegetable patch. Into the kitchen to check for notes on the table, another glance out of the window and a quick dog cuddle because you never know when your next oxytocin top up will happen.... 

So, at 9am I’m sat at my table. Flip chart and pens – check. Book full of everything you need to know immediately – check. Slides downloaded – check. Zoom meeting room accessed – check. Plan and manual to hand – check. Resources (playdough, pens, a transitional object - that book you have been talking about for the last four sessions) - check. I remove the lid of the playdough and smell it before removing it from its tub and moulding it with my hands for a few minutes. Nothing beats the smell of playdough when you first take the lid off - I find it instantly settles me and helps me to prepare for what comes next. 

The attendance list is to hand and all videos and music are on standby – I'm feeling ready for whatever the morning has to offer.


A welcoming smile

At 9.30am the session begins... I’m flying solo today so have missed the wonderful regulating chat with a fellow trainer this morning. I welcome everyone with a smile and light-hearted comment either about the weather, the day of the week or the state of my hair.

It’s always a big shock when you see yourself looking back from the laptop and you don’t look quite as neatly put together as you thought you did! As I have aged, maybe not gracefully, I’ve stopped worrying so much about my outward appearance. I do my best but after years of sore eyes and panda bear moments I have abandoned the make-up and decided my wrinkles add character and are part of who I am. On Zoom, it’s what I say and how I relate that is important.




Putting self-regulation to the test

When the internet falters or I get a message saying ‘your bandwidth is narrow’ I practise what I teach about self-regulation. I may take a deep breath, talk to someone, take a comforting sip of coffee, or the activity that I’ve recently discovered, is to put my bare feet onto the wooden floor. It grounds me, so I slip off my shoes and feel the sensation for a moment.

Teaching these little physiological regulation exercises helps connect me to the delegates at the same time as giving me the space to accept the moment and move on. I would never have realised how much learning there is to be had every day as a Thrive trainer.

Everything I teach, I am experiencing - sometimes several times a day. Everything I say, I am qualifying – checking, reading around, and finding different ways of saying it. I hear the delegates ask questions that challenge my knowledge or question my delivery and I reflect on what I might change or swap around next time to give more time to teach a particular point.


The intersection between my work and personal life 

The more I teach the Vital Relational Functions, the more I find myself using them, reflecting on them and, more importantly, explicitly modelling them in all my interactions.

Since spending all day, every day, immersed in Thrive theory and practice, I have become a better mother, grandmother, friend, daughter and partner. The richness of my personal life, my relationships with my children, stepchildren and the delightful joy I feel around my grandchildren have all fed into my life as a trainer and advisor to schools. When I work, I weave in examples, both from the classroom and conversations had with friends and family. Being careful not to mention names, I am able to draw on real-life examples that brings the theory to life every day.

How many other jobs can you do where self-awareness is your bread and butter and where your personal experiences provide a richer and more authentic experience for those you train and those you train with?


Reflecting on different approaches

So, welcomes done and we have been in and out of break out rooms, frozen a couple of times, been thrown out and come back in again. We have answered questions and clarified points. It’s now 11am and time for a quick screen break, another flask of coffee to be made and my stomach is reminding me that I need food. I reach for instant porridge or a breakfast biscuit for ease of access and eating and promise myself a healthier snack for lunch.

As we start the second leg of our three-hour journey into Thrive, we’re focused on Skills and Structure and a quick view of the Nurture Structure Highway. I love the fact that every time I teach this, I’m learning about how useful it is in addressing different approaches used by staff with different children and how helpful it can be in thinking about parenting styles and finding ways of bringing our parenting back onto the highway. 


Check ins before checking out 

It’s 12.15pm and we have a few more sections to cover but the delegates are looking a bit tired and you can see from the fidgetiness that is starting, that many of these amazing people are having to go straight from Thrive training to teaching or safeguarding meetings or group sessions or lunch duties. So little time to rest and digest or enjoy a moment but so important that they do.

Note to self: make sure we have time for a check in as I need to ensure everyone is able to make a transition from this to whatever is waiting for them outside their Thrive bubbles.



Social and emotional learning is more important than ever

I thank my lucky stars that I chose to leave education to become a freelance trainer and advisor to schools. When Covid hit, I realised that being a teacher, teaching assistant or senior leader in a school will never feel the same again. This pandemic has bought life-changing events to the forefront of our lives. It has reminded us of the importance and fragility of good health and it has given us insight into what happens to our wellbeing when we are disconnected from relationships. It has brought loss into everyone’s lives and children born during this time or starting school for the first time in these times will not be the same as children born before or after this trauma.

Lessons, hopefully, have been learned but we continue to adapt and realise that never has this knowledge and understanding of our social and emotional learning been more pertinent and necessary. Our challenge is to ensure everyone knows this stuff and continues to realise how important the phrases like ‘all behaviour is communication’ and ‘I’m imagining that must have been really difficult for you’ really are. 


Over to you

Each month, Thrive will be inviting you to thank a trainer who has consistently demonstrated a high degree of excellence and delegate care. If you've experienced Thrive training and you’d like to thank your trainer, please do so hereIf you're already a Thrive Licensed Practitioner and interested in learning more about becoming a Licensed Trainer, click here for the detail and to book or here to book a 20-minute Discovery Call with Jo Glazier from our Member Services Team. These calls are designed to fit in around your schedule and to give you an opportunity to have your questions answered. We want you to spend your time, your money and your energy wisely so Jo won't sell to you - but she'll help you decide whether or not our transformational Train the Trainer course is a fit. 


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