Resilience Sketchnote

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Resilience Sketchnote by @TeacherToolkit


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What methods – other than traditional blogging – can we use to communicate our thoughts?

Engaging Your Audience:

I’ve treated myself this Christmas and have purchased, The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking by Mike Rohde; sourced to help develop my blogs and tweets into content that is more interesting and engaging for everyone.

Having a background in graphics and design, I see no reason why I should not be utilising my artistic abilities much more! We are viewing frequently, people attending conferences sketching thoughts in this way and this is something that I also hope to develop; not just from conferences but also in the blogs and resources that I write and share. This is my first attempt.

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
In the book, the author explains and illustrates practical sketchnote techniques for taking visual notes at your own pace, as well as in real-time during meetings and events. Rohde also addresses most people’s fear of drawing by showing, step-by-step, how to quickly draw people, faces, type, and simple objects for effective and fast sketchnoting. As a seasoned designer, this is a very good starting point for anyone who wants to get started, even old-lags like me who haven’t picked up a pencil for fun in years!

Images: The Sketchnote Handbook

Resilience Sketchnote:

The first sketchnote that I would like to share with you, is on the theme of resilience.

Being resilient requires you to be hard-wearing, determined and steadfast. In teaching, this is a daily necessity and is something we are constantly striving to achieve in our first year of teaching, and indeed into the first five years and beyond. Resilience is not something you are born with, it is something that needs to develop in your character as you grow with age and experience …

This can also be said for teaching.

Teaching is a lifetime’s craft. You will never perfect it, nor complete your to do list. Accept this early on and you will begin to master the art of resilience: know when to stop, when to switch off and when it is time to look after yourself!

Resilience Sketchnote by @TeacherToolkit

What is Resilience?

On page one (right hand side and a sketchnote beginners error) I start with this comment; “resilience is not something you’re born with.”

It is something that you need to develop overtime so that one can develop a tougher mind; mindfulness; improve well-being; become more resourceful and hard-wearing, using experiences to become determined.

In teaching we are faced with many deadlines and many of them will become overdue. By nature, teachers are perfectionists, but the job I believe is “not for perfectionists, as our work is never done!”

With OFSTED and various methods for judging and measuring the quality of teaching, it is easy for us all to lose track of what’s important.We should not be paper-chasing or evidence gathering. This is not what teaching and learning is, nor why one chooses to become a teacher. Doing these sorts of activities are often not for children.

I’ve recently started to say that;

… teaching and learning trumps everything that we do in school …

… that “great teaching is not complicated. It’s about getting the simple things right.” That there is no single way to become a great teacher, nor a preferred teaching style in order to aspire towards it.

That’s why – in our school – we recently published a Learning Policy that simplifies everything that we do. Designed to reduce workload as a model for all of our teachers; read Mark-Plan-Teach for more information.

Resilience Sketchnote by @TeacherToolkit


As teachers we can often feel anxious, isolated and frequently stressed. This may be the result of excessive workload; unrealistic deadlines or a preferred methodology. It could also be from bullying or extenuating circumstances. For example, redundancy, appraisal or a personal crisis.

It is important to remember, that when aspiring towards resilience in the classroom, there is no silver bullet; nor any single way to become a great teacher. There are many roads to Mecca and teaching is a lifetime’s vocation …

Resilience Sketchnote by @TeacherToolkit


If ‘resilience’ were on my bucket list for all teachers, I would be asking for the following;

  1. All teachers to have more time to mark and plan lessons.
  2. School inspections to be less high-stakes; and for the four-scale measurement to reduce from outstanding, good requires improvement and special measures to simply ‘good’ or ‘not yet good’.
  3. For any future, elected, Secretary of State for Education, to be an ex-classroom practitioner.
  4. To stop the EBacc nonsense immediately.
  5. For the DfE to recognise that university is not the only option for a child.
  6. To leave curriculum and examinations alone for a period (at least!) and re-introduce modular components into courses.
  7. Review the schools direct route into teaching. It is not working and schools need more flexibility to recruit teachers.
  8. To celebrate, share and promote the success of teachers all over the UK. We need more positive media stories.
  9. As part of our drive to improve well-being, offer one-week sabbaticals accruing year on year for each year in service.
  10. Read more here in Dear Santa.

Finally, we all need to weigh it up when it comes to work-life balance. Why should any teacher have to work between 45-60+ hours per week? Something isn’t right about the system if this is now the expectation. Having resilience is not the single solution for our survival. If we don’t fix it, we will struggle to recruit and retain more teachers into the profession.

I will leave the reader with a final thought. Can we survive beyond five years in teaching? If so, what is the solution for our next generation of colleagues?

This is my first sketchnote based on ‘Resilience’ chapter taken from my new book, Te@cher Toolkit: Helping You Survive Your First Five Years. Keep an eye out for any future sketchnotes and do leave me with some feedback in the comments section below.

Happy holidays!


@TeacherToolkit logo new book Vitruvian man TT



3 thoughts on “Resilience Sketchnote

  1. It went down really well Ross and fitted in perfectly to the session on emotional health and resilience. Thanks for letting me use it – I owe you one. I’ll post some of the resources used in the training soon – just creating a few more for future sessions as I write.

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