I stumbled across the #Nurture1415 the other day and thought it was an excellent idea (I'm only sorry I missed the first two years!) Thanks to @ChocoTzar for galvanising people into action and to anyone who can be bothered to read/comment on mine and perhaps do their own...
Positives from 2014
- Probably my proudest achievement this year was non-work related. I managed to fulfill a long-held ambition to cycle the length of Europe - from Leicester all the way to Faro, Portugal. It was a delight to be able to drag my family along too; all of whom seemed to get as much out of it as I did. It was a very memorable trip and complements nicely the GR20 that we completed together the summer before.
- I am particularly pleased with the way that the school's intranet (OsNet) has taken off over the past year. Although we still have a way to go in getting it 'talking' to our school database big in-roads have been made. Increasingly the routines and systems that sustain the school are being automated. And it has pushed pupils and staff more and more to unlock the power of Google Apps for Education across the school. I think we can now say that we've moved as a school from being a bit of a tech backwater to being quite the opposite. The staff enjoyed being introduced to this list of stuff I showed them at our INSET in April 2014 and since have made good use of the bits that fit their particular teaching style.
- The mentoring programme we devised a couple of years ago is now running like clockwork and, I think, adds real value to what we do at Oswestry. Twice a term every child gets a one-on-one, carefully focused tutorial with a member of staff (run using a Google form, of course!) This is relatively unusual in a school with a large day-pupil population.
- As part of my own professional development I have chipped away at my EdD. Progress has been slower than I might have liked (I did nothing over the summer, for example) but I suppose the positive from this is that it has not become a burden. Such things can turn into rather dry academic exercises, but in this case my studies have led me to make some superb connections and read some excellent blogs and articles. The discipline of study has also spurred me to blog myself more frequently - something that I find quite cathartic even if, at times, it feels like bellowing into an abyss.
- At the end of the Lent term it was announced that Douglas Robb was moving on to Gresham's. I weighed up at length the pros and cons in applying for the headship of Oswestry and in the end decided I had nothing to lose. In the end I didn't get the position and the job went to Julian Noad. Not getting picked out at interview is never easy to deal with and leads to all sort of introspection - both positive and negative. With the benefit of 20:20 hindsight things have worked out well though - I got valuable interview experience and have been on hand to watch a new incumbent take up post - something I had not seen close at hand before.
Hopes for 2015
- Having been inspired by @DuncanSKing I am organizing a TeachMeet at Oswestry on Wednesday 29th April 2015. I think the TeachMeet movement has fantastic potential to improve what we do in schools and to reinvigorate teachers. I hope if you live nearby you'll take it upon yourself to sign up and come along.
- I want to put my EdD to bed before Birmingham ask me for my 2015-16 course fees(!) This means really pushing on with things over the next few months. Fortunately as my daughter is doing her GCSEs this summer we're likely to be based at home over Easter and so a frenzy of activity will be taking place if I haven't got it sewn up by then. Getting this completed will be a core priority in 2015 and so I will endeavour not to get sidetracked by too many other projects.
- I'd like to get a sub-1:30 time in the Shrewsbury Half Marathon in June. Having become a serious fatso in the last year or so this will involve a lot of training so I've signed up to join the Oswestry Olmpians. I also turn forty in October 2015 and so my plan had been to have a go at the Bob Graham Round in the summer. I think this may be biting off more than I can chew but I've brought the maps and will be caging out the route in any case (fortunately I've got until I'm 42 to do it at the 'approved' age). We'll see. The EdD has prioroity this year though (honest!)
- Building on the huge success of the TeachMeet (come on, humour me!) I am going to hook up with @dick_taylor to organize a North Shropshire EdTech event probably in September/October 2015. I went to an event he organized earlier this year and it was quite an experience. I love the idea of trying using teacher/pupil expertise as a seedbed for the tech of the future.