All over the world, education folk are taking part in #nurture1314 – an idea which began last year and has gained more traction this year via Twitter. The premise is simple – post your 13 best moments/achievements of 2013 and then your top 14 hopes or plans for 2014.
2013 has been a year of significant change and readjustment for me. It has been a year of significant highs but also challenges. This has been reflected in my dwindling use of Twitter and blogging this year, something I wish to address in 2014.
I am exceptionally blessed to be able to work with a brilliant staff team who put our children at the heart of what we do. I have some very dear friends at work to which I am really thankful. Education is my calling and I have known this since I was seven years old. This year has also been a period of significant change at our school, not least with the arrival of @RachelOrr as our new head teacher. Her inspirational leadership and immense knowledge of primary education is a huge asset to our school. I also became e-learning coordinator during 2013 so I’m looking forward to further developing this area in 2014.
The biggest shock of the year was OFSTED arriving in the last week of term – just before Christmas! Energy levels are now running very low!
It is a privilege to teach my class each day and I hope that I really do inspire them with a love of learning that will continue as they grow up. We have had lots of exciting learning adventures and I really enjoy planning ways which will hook them into learning.
On a personal note, in October I also received my first ‘Outstanding’ lesson observation under the new OFSTED framework – a testament to the children in my class.
3. Class Blogging
I’m a huge advocate for class blogs for promoting multiliteracies. My class are enthusiastic bloggers and I regularly have 150+ comments a day to approve on our class blog. Our communication with NASA Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan was a definite highlight of our blogging journey.
We’re also very fortunate to be able to work with Gail Terp, as part of ‘The Book Project‘ – a transatlantic blogging project where my class share their favourite books with a real author who then very kindly shares them on her reading blog.
4. Message from Barbara Morgan
Following on from the last point, I was overwhelmed to receive a personal message from NASA Educator Astronaut and ‘Teacher in Space’ Barbara Morgan. I wrote in January about how Barbara’s story is an inspiration and about her important work within education (see ‘Why I teach…‘ post).
I really value Twitter as it has allowed me to connect with other educators across the globe. Although my use of Twitter has dwindled recently, I can easily dip into my Twitter feed and see great things happening in classrooms around the world. I have made some good friends on Twitter – both online and offline – and I am looking forward to investing more time in Twitter in 2014.
I was privileged to be invited to speak at the UK Literacy Association’s National Conference in Manchester this year. It was a great event and it was brilliant to meet up with UKLA folk. I spoke about multiliteracies and some of the exciting projects my class has been involved in. I also attended the Northern Grid Conference and Teachmeet Woodham – a great place to be around like-minded educators.
This is an area which I have not focused on in 2013 but I did put the finishing touches to my third book chapter about blogging which follows on from my work at the UTAS New Literacies Conference in Australia and also my MA thesis. Further information can be found on this page.
8. Work/Life Balance
This has always been a real area of development for me and one that I am pleased to report really began to be addressed in 2013. It was always focused too much on the work aspect. I now no longer work Sundays, which as a primary school teacher, is an unconventional approach to take but I do believe that a day of complete rest is important.
As mentioned, I really value my colleagues and have many great friends at work. I’ve also enjoyed meeting with old friends over the past year. This time is very important to me. It’s very easy to spend all of your time working in education as work can easily expand to fill any available time. I’ve also been blessed to meet some amazing people over the past year who have become very good friends too – I’m really thankful for that.
I have played the piano for many years but recently decided to learn how to play the guitar. I now have a Sigma acoustic guitar which I am gradually getting to grips with. I can play a few chords and my fingers are currently burning. Once I’ve mastered a few more chords and my fingers no longer feel like they’re on fire, a friend is going to be teaching me some songs.
11. New York
I had an amazing visit to New York in August with my brother – it was a really special time. So many amazing things happened there. Not least eating amazing food! I finally got to see Space Shuttle Enterprise as well as the usual tourist sites.
One of my most favourite places in the world is now Bethesda Terrace – especially in twilight at summertime! It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Not coffee per se, but many of my happiest moments during 2013 have involved a cup of coffee!
I do feel really blessed and privileged with the life I lead. Even through rough and busy times, I have faith and hope… remembering, the important things and trying to place them at the centre of what I do.
2014 is going to be a good year. It’s not going to be a perfect year but that’s because there can’t be a perfect year. Life is full of valleys, mountains and seasons. I am a believer of taking each day as it comes but there are some areas I would like to think about as I enter 2014.
I intend to live! I’m really looking forward to time with friends over coffee and food!
Quality time with family should always be a priority.
There are so many things that I am excited about doing at school. I plan on blogging about them soon! I’m also looking forward to developing our approach to e-learning across the school. We recently launched our new school website and have lots of exciting things in the pipe-line.
4. Research and Conference
My third book chapter will be published in 2014 so I will be looking at other research projects. I have no idea what this will entail but let us see what arises! I’ve already been booked to speak at a conference in Greenwich in May so I’m looking forward to that.
5. Blogging and Twitter
It is my intention to return to this blog on a more frequent basis! I’ll be back on Twitter and look forward to learning from all of the education folk on there!
I need to get back to running!
I do hope that by this time next year, I am significantly better at playing my guitar!
8 ‘Device downtime’
I am going to be taking periods of digital leave over the course of the year as I think it is a healthy thing to do. On a daily basis I’m also going to disconnect from devices for a couple of hours.
I love to read and I am going to make this a priority this year.
10. The Outdoors and Seasons
I love the countryside, especially in Summertime. Summer is my favourite time of the year but a good friend recently told me that there is something beautiful in all of the seasons. So I’m going to remember that, especially during wintertime and the dark nights!
I love to cook and I have been trying out some new recipes recently. My friends and family have been tasting the results for me. I’m really aiming to have a more holistic and natural view of food this year. I’m going to try and cook more wholesome food – and make the time to do it.
I have started the process of going paperless and I believe I have a system which will work. I hope to significantly reduce the amount of paper in my house during 2014!
There are some friends who I see rarely and I hope to go and visit them this year!
14. Hope and Peace
I hope and pray for peace, even when the storms of life try to take over!
I am open to and excited for what the new year will bring!