Friday, 27 December 2013

Nurture 2013/2014

I said to @deadshelley that I wouldn’t blog for a fortnight; I didn’t even last a week. Sorry, Jamie. I am like an addict; I need my fix. As everybody else was doing one, I thought I would do one of these #Nurture2013/2014 things.  What went well this year? And, what do I hope for the next year? Apart from the obvious – still being alive at the end of it!


1.       Fatherhood. This year has been a joy with my daughters as they have started to read and I have shared in that process. I know, always thinking of teaching. However, the hours of joy I have spent reading to them and with them is a constant source of enjoyment. Reading is something that brings us together as a family. They love The Faraway Tree and similar books. We just dread the non-fiction books on the reading scheme at school because, I don’t say this easily, they are boring. Even when life has been busy, I have always made time for reading with my daughters. No matter how tough things I have been there has always been a story for me to read at the end of the day. Great stuff. However, 'Meg and Mog' are crazy.   

2.       Living with a disabled daughter, you try to normalise things. The disability isn’t an issue in our family. We support her but we don’t single her out. We neglected how she might see herself. This year we discovered that she didn’t see herself as normal. She knew she was different and said to us that she wanted to be ‘normal’. This clearly upset us as we had tried so hard for disability to not be an issue, yet we discovered this year that she needs to see others with cerebral palsy.  She needs to see more disabled people so she doesn't feel like she is alone. That’s why seeing disabled people on television is so important. We see ourselves reflected in others. She never saw, until now, anybody that reflected her disability; she felt she was the only one. Therefore, we have found some children with cerebral palsy and she has made some lovely friends. She is much happier.

3.       Still having a full head of hair as I meet the mid-30s.

4.       Reading – I have read, read and read some more. I am quite happy that this year I have read some great books. I have read sixty books in total. Four of those include Jo Nesbro and one was Frank Herbert’s Dune.  

5.       Hobbies. I always struggle with my hobbies. Finding the time has always been difficult. Whereas some people spend time in the gym, television and reading have always been my hobbies. This year writing has joined my hobbies. Well, I say joined. More like, take over. Well, I say take over; I mean dominate. It has really become something I enjoy now, so much that the blogging has become more regular than I ever wanted it to be when I started it off. But, I love it.  I enjoy it. I am not as high-brow as other blogs, but I have enjoyed sharing ideas and playing around with my ideas and writing. I try every so often to do something different with my writing. I am not perfect and I am guilty of the odd mistake, but I am happy to try things out.  The bonus is: I get paid to write now thanks to another website. One of the results of blogging is that I do some freelance writing for a website.

6.       Perspective – I suppose, if I am honest, I am an all or nothing person. Either passionate about something or not. I feel this year I have balanced that out. I have found writing as a way to get things out of my system and as a result I have felt quite balanced and positive. This has helped me with work and helped me slow down a bit. I have learnt that I can’t do everything at once, so don’t even try. The old me would have tried everything and then more. Do one or two things really well rather than several things badly. I think I have a more grounded approach to things now. Next time I will do it better. This helped me so much when Ofsted paid me a visit.

7.       Ofsted came and that is all I want to say about it.

8.       The Blog – I am quite proud of this year from the blog’s point of view. People read it and it keeps getting views, and, most importantly for me, people tell me how it has helped them. I love the idea that my little old blog has inspired someone out there or it has helped them plan a lesson. I don’t want to rewrite the education system; I’d leave that to bigger and better people. My ramblings are simply me thinking of ways to improve my teaching. Obviously, I have a slant on English and literacy so I am a niche thing, but I love that.  Surprisingly, I was one of the top ten education blogs in August – it was a quiet month.

9.       Presentations and teach meets – I organised and participated in  several teach meets this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I didn’t think I would but I did. I have met so many lovely people through these and the TL13 was a major highlight for me.  Teaching is done in isolation a lot of the time and just spending time with others teachers who are experiencing the same things as you is great. Like a self-help group for teachers.   I think I have formed some great friendships as a result of these. Plus, running my own teach meet has helped me to network and meet some other local teachers. Thank you to everyone who has helped with these.

10.   Teaching – I was hit hard by the C/D GCSE English fiasco last year and it took a bit of time to get through that. This year I came back fighting and determined to battle the system. Like the song: I get knocked down and get up again; you are never going to keep me down. I tried hard. I experimented. I got some great results in the summer.

11.   I started the year as a Literacy Coordinator and I finish it as Acting Head of English. Enough said. Bit of a journey.

12.   Twitter – I float around Twitter. I am not on it constantly but I’d like to think I have made some lifelong friends and ‘frenemies’. I’d love to that everyone for their support and help. The list is endless but I’d like to thank David, Lisa, Kerry, Anne, Gwen, Kate, Carolyn, Mark, Kev, Helene, Julie, Sarah, Kathy, Rachel, Mary, Jo, Phil, David,Jamie, English Lulu, Fran, Kenny, Alex, Paula, Jill, Thomas, Harry, Andy, Debra, Gordon and all the others.  And you dear reader: I appreciate all the RTs and discussions or kind words this year.


1.       Make time for my friends. Parenthood has meant that I haven’t always been so good with keeping in contact with my friends. Some are quite flaky, but there are some friends that I need to make time for.

2.       Watch some films. One of the main things in my life I have let go is film watching. I am an avid fan of serial dramas, which has pushed my film watching away. I think the number of films I have watched this year amount to five and four of those are Barbie films and the other one in The Croods. I think I will start by watching the new Superman tonight.

3.       I want to read some books on education. I tend to read practical teaching books rather than books on the philosophy of teaching so this year I’d like to read one or two of these.  There often is a conversation going on Twitter about some book and I am a little bit left out with it because of my lack of reading. I am a sucker for a good story. So if it hasn’t got a story, I will probably not read it. This year I will try to read some of these books and then quote them in the staffroom - maybe not the last bit.

4.       Read more of the classics. Maybe another Hardy and Dickens novel.

5.       Continue to work smarter rather than harder.

6.      Crack 'fashion for men who are not young anymore'.  I have hit that precarious age where clothes either makes you look like you are trying too hard to be young or they look right.  Fashion is a dangerous path and I struggle all the time. I would like to crack it this year and work out a style that doesn’t say granddad and doesn’t whiff of a man trying to be younger than he is.

7.       Being good at the HOD role. I don’t expect to be the best, but being good is what I am aiming for.
8.  To combat my blogging addiction and maybe save things up.

9.       Learning from the mistakes I made this year and getting a little bit better in 2014.

Thanks for reading and I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year,


1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this, Chris! Hope you feel good about all you've achieved and experienced this year, and that 2014 is a similarly positive and rewarding year for you.

    Hope you're having a great Christmas with your family, and that you've managed to read a book or two and perhaps watch a film that isn't Barbie....


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