I always find this style of writing strange; I’m very comfortable rambling on about education, leadership and culture but it always seems strange to write about me. It shouldn’t be, I’m a very reflective person but sharing it is a little bit weird. I think part of it is leaving yourself exposed to anyone who happens upon your ramblings.
It also doesn’t quite align with my vision, I always imagined that my blog would be just about educational and associated topics, not some tosh on my inner self.
However, I’ve really enjoyed the #nurture1415 series of blogs and have decided to add my musings to the chorus of voices. Warning: May contain stuff not about teaching and frankly of no real use;)
So then, 5 things I’m proud of…
1) I’ve learnt a lot – See, it’s sounding weird and boastful already. This has been thanks to so many others. I read a lot of books and try a lot of my own ideas out but regularly attending Teachmeet events and reading blogs/Twitter has had a significant impact on my practice this year. I’m also fortunate enough to work with some exceptional colleagues who willingly share their ideas and inspire me to be a better teacher.
2) The Lakeland 50 – I’m about as fast as a hippopotamus but I managed to complete just over 50 miles in the Lake District on trails last summer. It was incredibly brutal and I got a lot from achieving this. Putting this in context for those who would like to run but think “I could never do this.” – I’m an overweight asthmatic with food allergies, a massive fear of heights, a dodgy ankle and a sweet tooth that makes Willy Wonka look like a health food addict. If you fancy giving running a go don’t be put off if you’re not a Lycra clad whippet, do it for yourself, not them.
3) I’ve made a difference to others – If you know me this one will shock you as much as it did me. Sharing my ideas online and at Teachmeet events has resulted in a lot of positive feedback about how I’ve had an impact on other people. I never expected this and still feel confused when people are complimenting me; I’ve managed to learn to give heartfelt and meaningful compliments over the years, but I still struggle receiving them. Not being quite sure if it’s real or not, guess that’s one for a psychologist to explain to me.
4) My own blog – I used to think that blogging would be a bit self promoting and therefore I was put off it for a long time. It was @lisajaneashes that set the ball rolling for me thinking it would be a good idea and I started blogging on @pedagoo in March. At the end of October I started my own blog and I feel genuinely proud of this. If anyone reads my thoughts that’s a bonus, the real value in blogging is taking the time to process and reflect on your ideas. I enjoy that and look forward to writing more in the coming year.
5) Discovering presenting – In the past I’ve always delivered CPD sessions in small groups in very low profile ways; this year has seen me present to much larger audiences at Teachmeet events and I’ve found that I enjoy public speaking. I always get nervous before I present, I think that’s natural, but I do enjoy it. It’s also been a great way to meet interesting people. Going to Teachmeets regularly is also the nearest thing I’ve had to a social life since I started teaching; I genuinely regard so many people I’ve met at these as friends.
1) Be a better husband/father – This one is about the intent; nothing is more important than my family but it’s a worry that between work and running they may not get the best of me. This means I may not do a great deal differently but I’ll be more conscious of them when I’m tired or busy. I’m thinking if I focus on doing at least one thing special each week for them consciously and with intent I’ll feel that I’ve achieved this.
2) Improve my Lakeland 50 time – I know it’s not about the time but I’d like to attempt the Lakeland 100 at some point and to do that I do need to get faster to meet the cut off times. As always with me it’s about small steps and realistic goals that will allow me to achieve this. It could be in a few years or may always beyond my reach but I’m all about improving. I know I’m going to need to eat cleaner and put in a lot of hard miles to make this happen.
3) Homework – I really want to find a system of homework that works for both the learners and myself. I’ve tried a few different things over the years but the most positive response I’ve had has been from recent trials on Google Classroom. I’m planning to roll this out across KS3 Beliefs & Values in the New Year to see how it works out. Fingers crossed.
4) Keep writing – I’m really enjoying writing regularly. It’s becoming a habit so I’m committing to writing something at least once a month. It seems like a small amount but it will remind me to keep it up when life gets busy.
5) Never be satisfied – It may sound insane but being satisfied is one of my greatest fears. I fear the slow decline that comes when we stop striving and struggling to be more. I’m ok about being satisfied with certain aspects of life and of my professional practice but I never want to be without goals or dreams. As the character Tyler Durden so eloquently puts it “May I never be complete.”
I know I could have set more educational goals but I feel that I already give teaching my all, so my focuses for the new year reflect a need to balance life.
So, chase those dreams and make your vision reality. Be your own hero this year.
Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE