Apparently these posts are all the rage and I think they’re a good way to reflect on the year and make some promises for next year. Fingers crossed I stick to them.
1. Running – I’m not a runner; certainly not built like one but this year I signed up to the 10 mile Great South run and completed it in a reasonable 1.42 mins. The wind was horrific (the great storm if you care to remember!) and therefore I was fairly happy with that time as well as all the other race 5kms and 10kms I have completed (5 in total since August). It’s been rather hard to fit in training for these runs (3 times a week) but the help of fellow Twitter runners and my running partner Liz has been invaluable!
2. Horse riding – in the same vein I decided in the summer holidays that I should take up another hobby. I used to horse ride when I was younger but in the summer I built up the courage to go and have another ‘first’ lesson. I don’t usually find doing new things easy because I always think I’ll be rather bad at them. However, I really enjoyed it and although I find it difficult at times and it costs a small fortune I’m really pleased I’ve now been riding from 5 months and my ‘progress’ has been fairly good! Definitely something to keep up and by next Christmas I will definitely be asking for a pony from Santa!
3. My tutor group at school – 8JLE have made me really proud this year. We have an inside joke that we are the most average tutor group in the year group because we never win or lose anything – we are always in the middle! I’m afraid they take after me because I am distinctly average in most things unless I seriously stress myself out! This year however we did win one prize in celebration assembly and that box of celebrations is being held on to until January! I am also really proud of their ability to work together, particularly when I have been away on the odd day. They really are beginning to grow up and I only wish we had a little more time together each day to sort out all those bits and bobs that need sorting!
4. Life for living outside of school – I can’t stand the thought of not having things to do, people to see, places to go and thankfully this year has been full of all of those things. Having a life outside of school is so important otherwise what do you have to say for yourself? I’ve visited friends in Italy, had fun with friends visiting from abroad, been on many a day out, seen some great bands live, been riding, running, ringoing and many many more things. I’m glad 2013 has been much more balanced – even if I have had to ‘blag’ a few lessons because of it!
5. Culture (sort of!) – watching plays and musicals (and a ballet) – this year I’ve seen Jersey Boys, Much ado about Nothing in Stratford, Comedy night at the theatre, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and more recently The Nutcracker by the National English Ballet Company. All were much fun and again days out! Next year I hope to go to the theatre again and in particular go and see some more Shakespeare in Stratford.
6. Presenting at a few Teachmeets – although not as many as I meant to go to (sorry TMCowes!) I did have fun and break down a few fearful barriers presenting at Pedagoo London Teachmeet in March. It feels like forever ago but it was so much fun and such an inspiring day. It has also been great to visit Clevedon Teachmeet again and I’m looking forward to many more next year.
7. TLT13 – Talking of fun and presenting who knew that merely organising your own conference was so…..fun! No really. Thanks to the amazing @davidfawcett27 I had an easy ride organising TLT13. It may not have looked like it on the day as I fretted to organise the silliest of things but thanks to David, the amazing workshop leaders and the University the run up and the day were almost stress free. Creating the Ebook was also lots of fun as it meant reading back over all the great ideas shared on the day. What I’m on about my make more sense here: http://edssential.co.uk/tlt13-resources/
8. Having a few fab work dos – before this year I don’t think our/my department was particularly good at getting together outside of school and being happy about it! This year we have had a number of department and whole school catch ups, meals and get togethers which have been really nice. I think it is really important to see each other outside of stressful situations and certainly throwing each other down a ski slope in a rubber ring helped to do this!
9. Raising money for Winchester Young Carers Project – thanks to the challenge of the Great South Run I managed to raise over £800 for this great charity. Please do click on the link to see what they do!
10. Breaking through with year 11 – year 11 confuse me. I have two similar ability but entirely different classes. With both I feel like we are really going places. Last year I was rather confused by all the KS4 stuff you had to do in a particular way, and although this is unlikely to change they have turned into the best young people. Most of the time (there is the odd Monday p1!) they are really great people to be in a room with and I often feel like their guiding me as much as I should be them. I will be very sad when they leave in 2014.
11. Sorting out my marking – it is by no means perfect and I have a long way to go but I feel like I’m getting there with my marking. I found it really tough to get all my marking done and plan great lessons (yes I know great lessons build on marking but blah blah blah you mark these essays then!) but I think I’m getting there slowly. My marking is definitely better in terms of how useful it is although I haven’t yet found a magic wand to make it any less time consuming despite all my stickers, peer assessment and highlighters. I think, however, I have begun to accept that it is a ridiculous amount to do and that managing it involves a small amount of thought and planning. My marking rota has been pretty helpful and I will continue to use it next year!
12. Developing extra curricular activities – when I was at school we did loads and loads of things! I cannot fathom how the teachers organised all these activities but I remember visiting different schools, theatre trips and days off timetable making stuff! I wanted a bit more of that for my pupils. In particular to many English can seem an obligatory and pointless subject. I was really pleased when this year I made contact with a number of primary schools and managed to get them on board working with our year 9s. Even more so that those year 9s weren’t your ‘typical’ good English students. There are many more opportunities for them next year too.
13. Starting BBC School Report – according to the BBC our school has done this before but bizarrely no one in the department knows who or when! I signed up for School Report and really enjoyed my day at the BBC recently. Although it did make me think perhaps I should have headed down the career path of an editor instead. I am really looking forward to continuing this project with the School Report group in the new year!
2014 – hopes, dreams and possibilities:
1. Continue School Report – ensure it is a success and inspire pupils to look further afield for career prospects and opportunities.
2. Read more novels – any spare time I have I tend to sleep so I’d like to try and get through a few more novels this year or even just reread the classics. With the new curriculum coming in I think we all might need to reread some Dickens and Shakespeare!
3. Get slimmer – keep riding, running and moving constantly to ensure this happens! Rely less on chocolate! Teaching has piled on the pounds and they need to go!
4. Keep writing on the blog. I have 4 unpublished half posts because I never get round to finishing them. I’m not yet sure how to manage this so any advice from serial bloggers would be appreciated but the posts are always great to refer back to and reflect on how to improve further.
5. Teach grammar in a ‘fun’ way. Well, perhaps not in a fun way but in a way which sticks. The importance of SPaG does not seem to resonate and as a 90s and 00s product of the education system I do understand this. No one ever told me it mattered and it took until I reached Masters level at University for some basic issues to be addressed. I want to at least instill a basic knowledge and understanding into all my pupils’ consciousness.
6. Run another successful yet improved Teaching and Learning Takeover 2014. I hope that we can make 2014’s conference really exciting, vibrant and full of new ideas. It will take some work because it was brilliant this year but there are things we need to make smoother and more exciting. Any ideas please let me know!
7. Get over the fact that people use apostrophes””” incorrectly. This, apparently, is not the end of the world. Having said that, I’ve no doubt there is an errant apostrophe in this post! Apologies.
8. See old friends and distant family more often – I’m not as young as I thought and people have certainly drifted away. This year I have loved catching up with my best friend from my first primary school – I will be doing this with secondary and Uni friends next year.
9. Go skiing and remember how to do so successfully!
10. Start playing either the flute or piano again. I used to be rather good at both so I’m hoping to begin to start at least one again. I’m not yet sure where I will find the time but as I’ve paid for my flute to be put back together and polished back to some discernable sound then I shall attempt to start relearning the flute in 2014.
11. Use the carrot of being in touch with pupils’ parents more effectively – I keep in contact with some parents regularly but there are some I’ve never spoken to. Of course this is impossible but subject wise this can be really useful. I need to set aside more time to get in touch with home. Hopefully the fact we can now use email to do this will make this much easier!
12. Get better at using data – From January I am KS3 coordinator for English. I have a strong feeling this means both understanding and using data more effectively. I need to ensure I have my own point of view on these ‘levels’ matters and don’t just copy others around me for the sake of an easy life. I will attempt to use data carefully and accurately but with the caveat that there’s much more to teaching and learning than a level or a grade.
13. Ensure people know I am grateful – there are so many people from work to Twitter whom I need to say thank you to. Thank you to everyone who has helped this year. Particularly, David Fawcett, Debs F, Laura Sutherland and as always Kev Bartle and Helene’s positivity. Thank you to everyone who presented and came to TLT (to Lisa Jane Ashes and Sam for travelling down the night before and Vic Goddard and John Tomsett for coming from so far away) and to my family and friends for supporting me despite the fact I am insane at times. A big thanks to Sian Carter for listening to me moan and for playing music really loudly some days at school. I will aim to say thank you more often next year!
14. Watch the end of some films – I’ve seen a lot of openings but very few endings. I shall aim to stay awake when watching films in 2014! It may help me understand them a little more!