Year’s end musings

St. Catherine's College, Cambridge UniversityIt’s customary to reflect on the year ending when it comes to December 31st, and to ponder the New Year and its potential. So I had better have a go. If for no other more cathartic reason than to get my boss off my back for a few days about writing another post :-p . Though I won’t be able to rival his quality reflection here www.daviderogers.org.uk I figure I may just muse a little.

Those who know me will know that this year has been a tough one for me personally, and I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the love and support of my amazing family, friends and colleagues. So thank you. There’s a lot from this year I would like to forget, and hopefully I’ll come out wiser. T.S.Elliot said “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” I guess I should take from that and try to not think on the past too much, and try to reinvent my future. Hmm, that’s quite a challenge.

Sgwd Clun-gwyn waterfall, Brecon BeaconsNew beginnings are scary to anyone, human nature clings to the safety of the known and the ‘it’s always been done this way’ mantra. Perhaps this is most often evident in schools! But just because something has always been done one way, doesn’t mean it is wrong to evaluate and change – roll with it and adapt. Just because the road most often travelled is the easiest to follow doesn’t mean that the other road isn’t actually better.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

This doesn’t mean that I think we should be reckless and always trying something for the sake of it, but I hope I am never afraid of change or attempting something new. This year has seen some new ‘firsts’ for me: my first proper Ofsted (last time I was an NQT), first time speaking at GA conference and other events (again being dragged in by the boss!), first time writing for education blogs like The Guardian, first radio interview (BBC Radio Solent on the topic of mobiles in schools), first time mentoring and getting to help our excellent NQT Sam Atkins be even more awesome, first time coaching, first Olympics (including our kids getting to interview Lord Coe!), and many other highlight moments.

My most recent first was something I put off doing for months. I was approached in July by the Anthony Salcito education blog for Microsoft ‘Daily Edventures’ – a 365 day blog featuring so called ‘heroes of education’ worldwide.

Daily Edventures blog

I felt completely out of my depth and not in the same league as others appearing so at first I declined. After all, I’m ‘just a regular teacher’ – at that point I didn’t even hold a TLR so felt inadequate. I forgot all about it until November when I was asked again, and from that moment on was badgered by David Rogers (who even resorted to Twitter peer pressure!) to submit my statement. David’s own post is here . It felt crazier when Bill Gates was the most recent person on there but in the end I did submit and I am very chuffed that I have now appeared. You can see the blog post here Daily Edventures Blog if you wish. One of my main points was about educators not being afraid of change and of being lifelong learners. So that is a resolution for me – to not be afraid, to constantly learn, to spend more time on my own CPD through networking and good old twitter. I’m @geodebs by the way.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes! I won’t apologise as I think they’re great but I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m trying too hard! Here’s another one :

Hal Borland : “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

I like this concept. I’ve never been the hugest fan of new year in itself nor really been big on resolutions; it is just another evening and another day in many ways. It would be simpler sometimes to slough off the old and take the new as a fresh start but that would mean losing what we may have learnt along the way. Experience is a great thing. Whether good or bad, failure or success, we can always learn from experience. And I hope I do. I have to admit, I don’t like failing. I’m competitive and want to be good at the things I try, and especially at teaching as it is too important. But I know my students learn through failure and I should do too. So, another resolution is to learn to fail better!

BeBo at Mersham-le-Hatch deer park, Kent

Finally, things I’m looking forward to in 2013:

– working with the challenging but awesome David Rogers and Sam Atkins (no doubt involving more crazy ideas to get us in trouble, hopefully including pranks and naughty fun along the way)
– helping to maintain and always improve @priorygeography
– Iceland 2013 trip with 30kids
– improving my curriculum area of Careers Education for @priorysouthsea
– seeing some great friends get hitched
– exploring more of the world

Right, think I’ve rambled on long enough. And it’s almost 2013 already. Phew!

So, professionally I make these resolutions:

– spend longer on CPD related activities through reading more blogs, taking part in twitter discussions more, etc,.
– try more and learn by trying
– support the department I am in and colleagues school wide (e.g. through coaching)

Better add in some personal ones too, then people can check up on me! So :

– run at least once a week
– get my little cottage industry of clay crafts up and running online
– go somewhere I’ve never been before

And I promise to make more cakes for work – provided the boys deserve it 😉

2012 was hard work and hard to keep smiling but I’m known as being ‘pink and fluffy’ and just about kept to that. Bring on 2013.

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