13 brilliant things from 2013:
- Twitter - Well... Twitter, what can I say? It has been emotional. I have learnt so much from the amazing educators I have connected with through Twitter. I am questioned and affirmed in equal measure. It has been a great tool for challenging my views and connecting with wonderful education professionals around the country. Super stuff.
- SLTcamp - I am so proud to have been a part of this wonderful weekend. From the moment Stephen Lockyer asked me if I was mad enough to be a co-organiser of the event I was excited about the project. I do have far too much on my plate most of the time but this was well worth the time and effort involved. The group of senior leaders that we brought together in a remote country location for sharing of good practice was an immense team. The weekend was a wonderfully a dedicated and developmental one. Thank you to Stephen for asking me to be a part of it and to all the SLTcampers for their amazing contributions.
- Blogging - There is something really quite petrifying about blogging from the heart about stuff you really care about. I have a real and deep fear each time I blog because I am laying my professional heart and mind on the table for all to see. Despite this horrifically scary reality, I have found it immensely developmental to blog about education. It has been an amazingly reflective tool for bettering myself as a teacher and leader.
- Guardian and TES pieces - This year I have written two pieces for the Guardian Teacher Network and one to open the TES English blog. This is so special to me. I am grateful to have been asked to do these pieces.
- Teachmeets - Last December I met the effervescent Ross Morrison McGill at the first ever SLTeachmeet. It was a wonderful CPD event and really opened my eyes to the wealth of wonderfully passionate professionals out there. I have since presented at Teachmeet London and SLTeachmeet 2. I have also co-hosted SLTcamp Teachmeet and Teachmeet Literacy. There is something quite wonderful about a teachmeet.
- Teaching and Learning Takeover - I ran a workshop on progress within lessons and over time at Teaching and Learning Takeover organised by Jen Ludgate and David Fawcett. I was genuinely surprised and honoured to be in the main room along side Stephen Lockyer, John Tomsett and Vic Goddard. Not worthy!
- Students - So many of lovely students have had an impact on me this year. A few follow... To the student who was having a really tough time dealing with exam pressure and spent a lot of anxious time in my office - you did so well and both your family and I are proud of you. I told you you were amazing. To the student who was new to our school this year. You gave me a card thanking me for helping you settle in - You did it all by yourself and we are lucky to have you! To the student that has just joined our small school - you are such a special and warm soul and we are happy you are with us now. To the student who I dealt with for some misdemeanour or another on my first day in post a year and a half ago - I knew then, just as I know now, that you are destined for great things despite what you said on that day. I think you might just be starting to believe it now. To the group of students in my Y10 class (the whole class is amazing to be fair) who are such shining stars and always make me feel happy. Thank you for the over-brimming joy you bring to lessons. I could go on forever... Another blog post I think.
- Technology in the Classroom - Over the last year and a half I have tried loads of EdTech tools. I have no idea why I have the bug but I do. I know for sure it is the future... well actually it is the present. The education system needs to catch up!
- Healthy and happy - Over the last year my sister has been through a horrific life-threatening ordeal with her health. She is, thankfully, ok at the following treatment she underwent this year. This is not the first time I have been through a serious illness with my friends and family but is does not make it any easier. I remember getting the call about my sisters illness at the start of the year and sobbing silently while assuring my sister that I was fine and I would be strong for her. I was strong for her but boy life is hard when times are tough. On the up side, like I said, she is now happy and healthy and I am so happy to have her in my life. She is a hero.
- Colleagues - I have got to know a number of colleges on a professional and personal level that have made me a better teacher, leader and person. To you lovely souls - Thank you. That is all.
- Friends and Family - I am very fortunate to have a great network of friends who are very proud of me but are not teachers and are wholly uninterested in anything to do with twitter or teaching. They keep me in the real world - you guys are immense. I also have some lovely teacher pals from previous schools that I have loved keeping in touch with this year. You guys are also immense.
- Travel - This year I have been lucky enough to go to Jamaica, Lille, Guilford, Liverpool, Holmbury St Marys, Dorset, Nottingham, St Alburns, Mallorca, Bristol. Paris, Southampton, Gloucester and Windsor. Some of these trips have been for pleasure and some for work but all have been brilliant. I know I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to experience different places and way of life. Travelling near and far will never get old for me.
- Writing - Writing. What can I say? I never thought I would be writing like this; about education. I always thought I would end up writing in my old age about my escapades through the years. Surprisingly, right now I am really enjoying this type of writing. Writing about education helps me reflect and regroup. I love it. I was also super proud to have been asked to contribute a chapter to Ross Morrison McGill's 20" ideas for Secondary Teachers Outstanding Lessons. Who'd have think it? Mum, all those nights spent sleeping in your bed while you frantically typed away under the lamp light on your type writer affected me... What have you created!
14 Wonderful Wishes For 2014:
- Writing - I would like to write some great blog posts that further me as a teacher and leader. This year I have some exciting projects underway too... watch this space.
- Leader - I want to keep moving forward. I need to do lots more reading, thinking and reflecting on how I can become an better leader every day.
- Teaching - I want to enjoy as many lessons as I can this year. All the turbulence in educational politics can be a distraction - I won't let it be.
- Teacher Training - I would like to research and do my bit towards improving teacher training / CPD in my own context and wider. We are on the cusp of something changing in schools and CPD is a key player in this - I just know it.
- Friends and Family - I want to ensure that I really appreciate my friends and family this year. I am so lucky to have many wonderful friends and family and sometimes I think that I take that for granted. I love you all.
- Well Being - I loved starting to exercise for the first time ever last year. As a young person I claimed to be allergic to exercise ;-) Now I love it. Health issues stopped me in the last few months and I can feel the difference. Just watch me come January. Healthy body, healthy mind. You have to look after what you have got.
- Educational Technology - I need to hone my tech use in the classroom. I am excited about this and really want to use my Digital Leaders to help me. How though...
- Teaching, Learning and Assessment - Berkhampstead - I am honoured to be running a workshop at this event. I have heard great things about it last year. No pressure then!
- SLTcamp - The first event was so special that we could not leave it there! Watch this space.
- Home - I love my home but it is time for a move after seven years. Onwards me thinks.
- Marking and Feedback - I want to do more work on this topic. I have experimented with online marking, written on the topic for both the Guardian Teacher Network and TES English blog and I really do love a sticker! I know marking and feedback can have such profound impact on pupil progress that I cannot help but want to know more. I also know that teachers time is precious so we need to do this effectively or it can take over our lives.
- Reading - Good gracious woman - read for pleasure won't you!
- Celebration - I want to make sure I celebrate my student successes more than I do. I so love making positive calls, sending positive letters home and awarding students with certificates. I need to make sure I do this more often. It is good for the soul and essential for the heart.
- Happy - I want to appreciate the present more. Life is so busy most of the time that great things can pass us by. Must be more mindful. I am a naturally happy and positive person and I need to focus on keeping it that way. Laugh, love and be happy.
Happy new year one and all.