1. My daughters learnt to read fluently. This has been a real joy for me this year as I have played a big part in it. I have endured tonnes of ‘Biff and Chip’ books, but they now read with joy and aplomb. In fact, as I type this, they are reading all the Christmas cards on the wall. I just need to work on their handwriting now.
2. The family. They are all healthy and they are my rock.
3. I still have a full head of hair – just. See the entry below.
4. I have made it through one year as a HOD. I have survived. There have been ups and there have also been downs, but for the most of it I have enjoyed the experience. I won’t dwell on it too much as I am saving it all for my autobiographical novel ‘Carry on Head of Department’. It is still in draft form at the moment, but it does contain a lot of slapstick moments.
5. Putting things into perspective. I think this year I have got better at taking one challenge at a time. Teaching is full of problems. In fact, one of the key descriptors of any teaching job should have ‘ must be good at solving problems’ at the top. This year, I think I have limited the phrase ‘We are all doomed’ to just a few times.
6. I got published in three books this year. I suppose it is everyone’s dream to be published and I am no different. I’d to publicly thank Lisa, David and Alex for including me. It made me endlessly happy this year and provided colleagues lots of amusement. Chris, I need some INSET on Literacy! Me: 'Shall I just pass the book around?'
7. I talked a bit. This year I attended numerous teach meets and spoke at the brilliant TLT14 and the fantastic Pedagoo in London. Finally, I spoke at a conference in London. All events were a fantastic experience and I am indebted to the people who offered me the opportunity to speak. At every event I was incredibly nervous. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be doing this sort of thing when I started teaching. I still have to pinch myself.
8. I have blogged moderately. I think in previous years I had blogged too much so this year I have tried to balance things out. I blog for myself really. That’s why my entries are so diverse. However, this year I tried to reduce the amount I blog so I can relax more at the weekend.
9. I have reduced the time I spend on Twitter. I haven’t fallen out with anybody. Nor, have I been insulted or blocked – I think. I found that I was spending too much time on things on Twitter and avoiding things like putting the rubbish out and brushing my hair. I now have brushed hair and the rubbish is outside.
10. I said last year that I wanted to read lots of books about education. I failed big time on that dream. I read a lot of blogs and a lot of the ideas of said education books are filtered down to me that way. This year, instead, I read lots of books about writing. Crazy or what! My particular favourite is Roy Peter Clark. I have picked up one of his books and it contains about a hundred separate English lessons.
11. People have been very nice to me. I write in isolation; therefore, I don’t test the ideas out on my daughters, or my wife. So, it is very nice to have people come up to me at events and say nice things to me. It makes me want to keep blogging and talking about things.
This year, I want to…
1. Crack the new GCSE specs. Still getting my head round them.
2. Stop looking at emails. Teaching has become a twenty-four-seven thing. People can and will contact us at all times of the day. I long for the days when teachers would only be contacted during school hours. Now, I am being contacted all times of the day. This year: I am going to stop looking and responding to emails at 7pm. Any email after that then can wait for the next day.
3. Get the ‘Slow Writing’ ebook finished and out there. It is slowly taking shape and I hope to share some news about it soon.
4. Read some more non-fiction. I admit that I am a bit phobic when it comes to non-fiction texts. Give me a novel any day. Give me a non-fiction text and I will run a mile. I think this year I am going to start reading other types of text for pleasure. In the past, I have dipped into the odd autobiography, but this year I want to start reading other types, especially travel writing.
5. Get through ‘Breaking Bad’. I have missed the boat on this one a long time ago. I have seen all of ‘The Killing’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and various ‘boxset shows’ TM. I feel it is time to get on the bandwagon for this one.
6. Get another English Teachmeet of the ground. I keep threatening it, but something always lands on my plate.
7. Learn the art of delegation. I’ll get you to teach me that skill.
8. Work on developing the culture of learning in students. Fight the endless war on apathy in students.
9. Clean the cupboard / draw I keep meaning to tidy.
10. Oh, and I want to stop chewing pens.
TThanks for reading and I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year,