Archive for December, 2013

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 890 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Well it’s the time of festive cheer, where I swop one long list from school for one even longer for home. But in the spirit of reflection and encouraged by @Chocotzar, here I go, even though I still find this hard.

I retread last years wishes and there are surprisingly a few I have managed to achieve but more of that later.

1. My children once again surprise me. Eldest son managed to stay at college with no issues and then sit four GCSE’s which he achieved 4 D’s with being only 2 marks off a C for his English which he has resat and we await results eagerly. He is now on his level two course and achieving all distinctions, playing rugby for the senior side, making his debut on the first day of the season in September. He is working and learning to drive and I need to make the most of the time I have left with him. My daughter is getting more beautiful every year and is now in that joy of joys options phase of school. Where the questions about what she wants to do seem so hard to tackle. She is maturing in many ways and I think her Dad will be scaring prospective boyfriends any time soon.

2. I plucked up my courage and finally presented at a Teachmeet and only choose TMClevedon to do it, thanks to my special helpers @hrogerson, @lizdudley and @specialsciteach I managed to get through it and the feeling was amazing.

3. On the back of that I organised my own Teachmeet at Dawlish community college. Launchpad for Learning. With the amazing @musicmind who came to be our keynote . She was incredibly inspiring and I want to make all my lessons like “Sherbert lemons”. This was a massive task and I thank the wonderfully generous Rachel jones @ rlj1981 for her time and advice, without whom I am sure I would have given up on the whole thing.

4. I went a Gromit hunting in Bristol organised by the lovely @Theheadsoffice, I got to meet, @betsysalt, @Chocotzar , @gwenelope, @rlj1981 and many others,we laughed, we ate, we looked at a micro brewery and this resulted in me nearly missing my train. But in line with last years wishes I laughed more.

5. I went for a whole school job and got it and am now a leader of pedagogy with the wonderful @misswrightatdcc, I am the ying to her yang. We have plotted and planned and enjoyed our journey so far. Also I get to work the the incredibly supportive Nann Stimpson whose un waving belief in us sustains us and whose trust is one I will continue to value.

As part of the development of the role we got to visit Cannons on an amazing Pedagogy Day. The school and Ped leaders were inspirational and I hope that we managed to develop such a culture of challenge and excellence. Thank you @kevbartle and @renniesherrie for sharing your vision with us.

I also got to be nominated as a Professional Subject tutor for a PGCE student. Excitement.

6. I ran a 45 minute workshop at the Teaching and Learning take over in Southampton, it was nerve wracking but the love of Foldables is spreading with more teacher tweeting me pictures of how they use them in their classrooms. I never really believed that I had anything that interesting to share but appears this has taken off. I will be doing another TM in January to share the love. This work shop also resulted in me being published in the amazing ebook. Thank you Jenny and David for the day and opportunity, your enthusiasm and love of teaching and learning is one to aspire to.

7. I managed to spin three times a week and squeeze in circuit training on Saturday up until September when the demands of the new role and work issues took over. Still managed Saturday training but that was all. I also managed to lose just under 21/2 stone and felt much better for it and it is staying off! Thank you juice master, I now drink freshly squeezed juice every day.

8. I have employed my filter more this year and I think that I am slowly getting to grips with the politics of school life. Maybe.

9. I attended all by myself Pedagoolondon where I went on a trip around the London looking for the right “Green Man ” and had a wonderful time, I promise next year Andy I won’t bring course work.

10. My parents continue to be fit and well a few minor niggles but they are my constants with whose support and belief in me I don’t think I would be the person I am.

11. My long suffering husband we made our 20 year anniversary and although the trip to New York didn’t happen there will be another time. He is my best friend and makes me laugh. He has to carry most of the load and as he works at night we often feel like ships that pass in the night but we are a united front.

12. my tutor group who finally seem to be working with me then against me and are turning into wonderful young people. I can’t believe that in another year they will be gone.

13. Finally Twitter who I am slowly converting more of my colleagues. You have given me hope, courage, support, new ideas, inspiration and now I am glad to say friends. Thank you.

Well now to next year. I’m not sure where us start so in no particular order here are my wishes.

1. To get a handle on the parenting of two teenagers. I need to realise that my eldest is almost a man who is flourishing and doesn’t need his mother as much as he did before, except to wash dirty rugby kit and have bottomless cupboard of food. For my special lady accept that at the moment her friends are her haven who she now shares her secrets with and wait patiently for her to come to me when she’s ready. Acceptance is the key that my offspring are needing me in a different way but I will always be there when they need me.

2. To get back to spinning and make sure I keep going for the whole year and not let work get in the way. To stay slimmer, keep juicing and try to keep my chocolate addiction under control. This will require me taking more care of me, which I often neglect. I am happy to support others often to my detriment so need to give me the same care.

3. To provide a safe place for the pupils I teach. To be consistent, fair, supportive and provide them with the best chance I can give them, to ensure they are able to open every door they need to, ensuring they lead successful and fulfilled lives. To be there for my tutor group who are turning out to be wonderful young people who I am proud of more and more each day.

4. To accept compliments gracefully. I am still struggling with my daemons who often get the better of me. The person who looks back from the mirror isn’t always the one I see when looking at her.

5. To keep learning, practicing the art of teaching, I still think that someone will come and catch me out and say that I really shouldn’t be in front of students. I really love my job and just want to be the best I can be.

6. I want to develop my pedagogy leader role and make teaching and learning the buzz of the school where our teachers engage in conversations about their practice by becoming more open to sharing their successes and failures of their classrooms.

7. I need to blog more to share my own practice and accept the great and good who hopefully will comment and help to develop my practice making me a better teacher.

8. Get a school blog started to share our practice and pedagogy. It needs a catchy and informative name suggestion appreciated.

9. Push myself further out of my comfort zone and present at more Teachmeets, hopefully will do Pedagoolondon with the wonderful Lucie. Plus have volunteered to help Mark Anderson with a Pedagoo event in the South West and along the way get to spend time with more of the people I have met with through twitter.

I’d like to work with Nina Jackson @musicmind, if she could put up with me, on what I don’t know, open to suggestions.

10. This is a big one to admit to but I’d like to further my career, I have come to teaching late and feel that time isn’t on my side and I want to be able to develop, encourage teachers to be the best they can be. I want to see more openness between departments, celebrate innovation, encourage creatitivy, allow teaches to take more risks within their classrooms, support, motivate and help shape the future of the young people we have the privilege to teach every day.

11. I still need to dance more, have done some in class much to the embarrassment of my pupils. But need to do it more with friends, family, children.

12. Be a better, wife, friend, sister, daughter and in order to do this I need more balance between work and the rest of my life. think I had that last year as well.

13. I need to worry less about money, housework, teaching, am I good enough, will I be better, well just everything.

14. Finally I need to look upwards enjoy the sunshine, splash in the puddles, kick up the leaves and surf more.