Well having spent the last few days reading through an ever growing collection of inspirational posts within the world #Nurture1314 I decided to attempt to write my own 13 highlights of the year (in no particular order) and 14 hopes for 2014.

With 2013 being my first full year as an Assistant Head its certainly been a year of challenge, learning and inspiration from some wonderful people and I hope that my reflections show that above all its been a year to be thankful for.

13 highlights of the year:

1. Results Days: As my first year leading on Student Achievement both A level and GCSE result days were always going to be a defining moment of 2013 one way or another. Leading up to them was a nervous anticipation not about the outcomes of our students, I never doubted them, but my own ability to fulfil my role within these two key days. Our wonderful students secured some fab results and it was a couple of weeks of high intensity, but complete joy. I also survived, managed to collate everything I needed to in a calm and efficient manner and at the end of it all managed to get through presenting the results to staff on the first day back too. It was also really lovely to celebrate again with students at our recent awards evening and hear all about their continued success both in A level and University courses.

2. CPD: Some of the biggest highlights of 2013 come under the umbrella of CPD. Firstly those sessions I’ve been lucky enough to experience outside of school all thanks to twitter. To name a few: Cannon’s pedagogy day (hosted by @kevbartle); #SLTCamp (hosted by @MrLockyer & @MsFindlater); #SLTteachmeet (Hosted by @MrLockyer & @teachertoolkit) and #TLAB13 (hosted by @nickdennis) and the great many conversations I had with people as part of these events took these to a whole new level that I never fully anticipated. What epitomises all these events was the great energy and infectious enthusiasm and love for the profession that was at the heart of them all. Secondly is all the in house CPD that I have attended or been part of the leading of, last count was nearly 50 sessions from term one of the new school year alone and that is a phenomenal thing to be part of and really shows the relentless focus we have on developing learning, teaching and people within our school. Regardless of my part in these CPD sessions I always walk away as a better teacher and for that I am truly grateful. Last, but certainly not least, is the amazing CPD that I get from working as part of a really fab Leadership team and with two people specifically (hopefully they should know who they are). Through their support, guidance, listening, questioning and challenge I have grown so much as a leader and person and have achieved far more than I ever imagined and for that I am truly grateful. It also makes the prospect of 2014 a really exciting one.

3. Our Journey to Oz: Although, at times, Oz may seem a million miles away, one thing for sure is that we are getting there one yellow brick at a time and what a journey it is🙂.
Yellow brickroad final updated (3) (1)

4. Twitter: Through twitter I have found access to the sort of daily CPD money really can’t buy, but more importantly to contact with a whole host of like minded people. It has introduced me to new ideas (SOLO taxonomy, 5minlessonplan), but also some new experiences in #TLAB13,  #SLTChat,  #SLTteachmeet and  #SLTcamp and through this some really creative and inspirational people. It’s very easy for people to get sucked into this negativity that can surround our profession, but through twitter I have always been met with the real positive side full of creativity, inspiration, openness and most importantly one that keeps people (the students and other colleagues) really at the centre of it. I love my job and I love the fact that I can find daily reminders not only at school, but also at home via this network of committed and amazing individuals. They are far too many to name everyone, but thank you to you all.

5. Doing things outside of my comfort zone: This largely relates to public speaking, which I fast realised was a very big part of being on an SLT. So this year I have conquered assemblies to all year groups, presentations to whole staff, whole school CPD, a workshop at a learning and teaching conference (#TLAB13), attended a weekend away in the middle of nowhere with 40 people I met on the internet (#SLTCamp), hosted a nationwide chat between a whole host of SLT (#SLTChat) and set up its little sister (#MLTChat). If you’d have asked me if I’d have done any of these at the start of the year, the sheer thought would have sent a shiver down my spine, but it does serve to remind me that you really can achieve a great many things if you put your mind to it.

6. #MLTChat: It’s early days and isn’t quite where I want it to be, but with 1350 followers and regularly receiving 100+ votes it is certainly off the ground. Hopefully one day it will be up there alongside the great success of its big sister #SLTChat, but in the mean time I am keeping hold of the Margaret Mead quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

7. MLT Programme: Being on MLT is a rewarding, but tough job and I would never have got through it if it wasn’t for the amazing amount of support I got from my SLT line manager. She acted as my biggest support, but also my greatest challenger and it was through her guidance, support and inspiration that I grew to be an effective HOD. When I stepped up to SLT one of the biggest things I wanted to do was to try and give this back to the MLT within our school and design a programme that both trained, nurtured and supported my amazing colleagues within their role. I’m lucky enough to Line manager three of them and truly delighted that I get to work so closely with them the whole MLT as part of our weekly inhouse MLT CPD programme. Its still evolving, but they are fast becoming the powerhouse of our school and moving from the pack of love hearts to a bag of mixed rock!

8. Developing the ability to look for Rainbows: Teaching is a roller coaster it has incredible highs and tough lows. One thing 2013 has taught me is if you want some rainbows then you’ve got to put up with the rain and equally the importance of being the person who bring the sunshine to someone else’s rain to create the rainbow again. There has been a number of rainbow moments this year (including one at the end of our inset day in November) and above all its reminded me (with a gentle poke from time to time) to keep my head held high and looking for that rainbow.

9. Colleges & the school community: I’ve already talked about I am lucky to work with some great teachers and wonderful students within every level of my work, but never was that more true following the events of Sept.

10. Friends and Family: My family is very small and the person at the centre of it is my long suffering husband who without I would not eat, sleep or survive (he constantly tells me this, but in fairness he’s probably right). I have a very close knit of friends, who largely happen to be people I also work with. They are the people who I share adventures with (this year including a trip to the Bolshoi, a family day out to the Zoo, a trip to the James Herriot Museum to name but a few), the ones who put me back together again when I feel broken, the ones who looked after me during a difficult time when my husband was away, the ones who accept me for me and the ones who give me something to smile about each and every day. A number of them have also welcomed me to spend time with them and their families and these times have also been some of the highlights of the year and the times when I have probably felt at my most relaxed. They may only a small group, but they are a very remarkable and special group who I am truly blessed to have in my life.

11. P1000225Conquering a mountain: Despite not feeling well and my husband trying to tell me that I should not even attempt it in a cloudy day at the beginning of August I climbed Ben Nevis and it felt amazing. We couldn’t see much (in fact anything) at the top, it may seem small to some, but the sense of achievement in totally having to push myself mentally and physically more than ever before was a real learning experience and something I am really proud of. 

12. OFSTED: In the penultimate week before Christmas late on a Tuesday, the phone call came. Although we’d been expecting it for some time, nothing can quite prepare you for that initial feeling and what the next two days would bring. Having been through four as a classroom teacher and HOD it is safe to say that I was apprehensive about how it would feel doing OFSTED as a member of SLT, but believe it or not it is very much one of my highlights of 2013. It really was two days of being on a roller coaster, but as with any roller coaster was a totally exhilarating experience and one which I am proud to say I survived. We’re still waiting for the final report to be published, but may be I’ll share some more once it has.

13. I won my first medal…

My hopes for 2014…

1.Read more: Having spent the best part of the year collecting a range of Education and fiction books (and have downloaded a further 18 on my Kindle in the last week alone) I now need to find time to read them. By read I mean fully immerse myself in their pages, not the type of reading that I tend to do in some stolen moments on a train or in bed when I am reading the words, but not taking it in. Top of the list is “Leverage Leadership” and Mitch Albon’s “The Time Keeper”.

2. Host and take part in a teachmeet: In the final morning of @SLTCamp, spurred on from some wonderful messages from @teachertoolkit, @RachelOrr and @jillberry102, we spent some time reflecting on what our changes the weekend had ignited. Top of my list of things I wanted to achieve was to host and take part in a teachmeet and thanks to @teachertoolkit steps are already in place to make this happen. I’m not a big fan of public speaking, mainly because I’m not too sure that I have a voice that wants or needs to be heard, but

3. Grow #MLTChat: I hope that it will continue to grow both in terms of followers and tweachers joining in the chat’s themselves. I also hope that we will find some guest hosts that will take the chat itself to the next level (thanks to @lancslassrach for being our first one and doing an awesome job) and that I will start to build the accompanying website and blog posts. My big dream is to host an MLTteachmeet associated with @MLTChat which will see out wonderful school host MLT from around the county and support them in the sharing of best practice. I’m a great believer that a schools MLT really are the engine room for change if nurtured and supported correctly and I’m fortunate enough to work with a wonderful MLT who are going from strength and am really excited about the possibility of sharing this with some like minded people.

4. Work/Life balance: The fact that it even features is a step in the right direct. Possibly a bit of a pipe dream, but one that is important to aspire too even if it just starts with very small steps like reintroducing Sunday evening baking or cinema trips.

5. Blogging: I’ve gained so much from reading a great and many varied blog posts and can see how useful a reflection tool it can be. That being said as far as twitter goes I’m largely been a listener than a speaker and in many ways I’m probably happy with this. A little while a go I started to build our school learning and teaching blog as a means of putting in one place a whole lot of useful teaching resources, but also tracking out journey to Oz. I haven’t done such a good job of keeping on top of it or even getting it fully going, but 2014 will hopefully be the year for this.

6. Continue to develop as a teacher and leader: I whole heartily believe that you stay doing something until it doesn’t challenge you anymore or you’ve given all you can. One of the reasons I love teaching is that I don’t think there will ever be a day when the above comes true. With each new year, new class, new day comes a new set of challenges and new reason to keep giving all you can. It may be idealistic, but I think the pupils that I work with are special and they deserve the very best and therefore I need to keep developing myself and others to enable that to happen on a day in day out basis. I want to keep looking for new ways of ensuring the best outcomes in my classroom, but also looking for how I can keep developing strategies that allow me to get the best out of the wonderful staff and students I work with and them to get the best out of me too. 2014, as ever, is going to be a very important year for us and as things keep moving forward I need to make sure my practice does too at every level.

rainbow uke7. Keep Learning: Sort of fits in with point 6, but also mean in terms of learning something totally new. There is nothing quite like the feeling of learning something from scratch, going through the difficult feelings of not being very good at something and the reminder that you practice really does make perfect. Currently I am learning to play the Ukulele thanks to the patience of some inspirational young ladies at school who are giving up a break time a week to teach me “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Have only had 2 lessons so far and am pretty rubbish, but hopefully with some more time an commitment in 2014 I will manage the full tune by the end of the year🙂

8. Develop in Confidence: If I’m honest I know this is a big thing that holds me back at times. Never more so than driving back from SLTcamp I remember feeling a real sense of frustration, not because I hadn’t enjoyed the weekend, but because I felt I could have gotten more out of it had I just relaxed, been a bit more confident and let myself go a bit. I am fortunate to have a number of people at work and home who constantly show and tell me the confidence they have in me and I need to try and find a way to  Some days I feel like I fly, most days I feel like I have the wings, but they are clipped and in 2014 I need to try and discover how to unclip them when I need to.

9. Enjoy the present more: A couple of weeks back I spent a wonderful day in London with my husband and lovely friend @11_lmw11. One of the highlights of this day was when I found myself walking behind them just listening to them engrossed in conversation and enjoying just spending time with people I care very much for so happy and relaxed. I am a compulsive worrier, but I guess for the first time in a while I found myself not worrying about work or the next month, week or even minute, but just living in the moment and loving it. In a job that can be a little all to consuming in terms of thought and action it was a welcome, and equally painful, reminder of the importance of trying to live in the now.

positive book10. Keep a positive book: A couple of years back I started to keep an alternative diary. In it I kept notes of emails, texts, cards or conversations that had made smile. At the end of a long day I sometimes go and have a read and am reminded of not only reasons to be smile, but more importantly of the wonderful and very special people that I have in my life. A couple of weeks back I was brought a wonderful new note book, which I think will be perfect for my new positive book. Challenge will be to end each day by finding at least one thing to go into it….

11. Continue to look for ways to use data creatively: I unashamedly love data, mainly because in as many answers as you can find from it, it serves to ask a million more questions. As a teacher and leader I believe that it can serve to have a real impact on students as long as it is used in a creative and child centred way. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so a huge part of my role to develop new ways to engage staff in the use of data in the classroom.

12. Give mindlessness and meditation a go: I was brought a book to get me started and reading through the first few chapters that it did resonate with a lot of what I feel from time to time. Got to be worth a try on both a personal and professional level and nothing like the new year to give it a go.

13. Continue to hunt for Oz and look for Rainbows along the way: Its the thing that often gets me out of bed in the morning and the focus that gets me through the terms. Not only because what it stands for, but because what it will ultimately mean for our students and because of the daily the reminder of what we can does and is making a difference as we pave our yellow brick road.

14. Keep smiling and learning to dance in the rain: Often the sign off from emails and texts from someone very very very (3 very’s so it must be true ;)) important to me, who constantly reminds me of this and gives me reasons to make it happen, along with some other equally important people in my life.

waiting

What do you get if you put two large cardboard tubes, scissors, glue, pipe cleaners, coloured card, the wizard of Oz and teachers in a room. The answer is this…

Trajen Coloumns

This half term in Learning Matters we are having a focus on group work and collaborative learning. Each meeting we will be looking at different strategies and engaging activities that focus on developing these group and independent learning skills in our pupils.

Earlier this year I was reading a blog post that talked about  Trajan’s column  as a tool for engaging large groups in independent learning and we set about last week to give it a go in Learning Matters.

The Task

Their task was to recreate, in 20minutes (although we took a lot longer), the Wizard of Oz going up the column using a summary of the play (parts cut up like a card sort), key quotations and images. We also had to create an object to go on top as a representation of the key learning.

As we had two tubes the decision was made to split into two group. The two groups took very different approaches to the task, but both set about assigning key roles to each of their team members with some people focusing on the creative design, some on the arrangement of quotations and plot and others on the grand master piece to sit on top.

The Discussion

In discussion we talked about all the AFL potential and how the activity could be used as an evaluative tool at the end of a scheme but could similarly be used to introduce a topic. There was also really interesting discussion as we tried to explain and justify to each other which model was the best and the level of feedback and feed forward was immense. We also talked about how it may be easy to get lost in the task and the need to assign clear and defined success criteria to pupils as part of the lesson.  Despite some initial reservations, the discussion was rich and there was a wealth of debate about how the activity could be amended and tailored for our own subjects.

Next Steps

So we all left with the challenge of trailing it in our own lessons over the next few weeks and feeding back on what went well and how we can make it even better. In the next learning matters we will be looking at how we can use talking, tallying and table clothes. See you there.

I will leave you to guess which master piece was made by the NQT’s and which by members of SLT.

2012 has been a year of discovery for me and as I sit here and reflect back I can honestly say I’ve discovered a lot about myself as teacher, a leader and as a person and have grown in all these three areas immensely. I hope this blog doesn’t come across as indulgent, but more a celebration of all the people and ideas that have given me these new found ‘powers’ in 2012 and a determination to make them and 2013 even better!

Jan 2012 -The power of developing a hidden passion: Last Xmas a very special friend of mine brought me a tutu and it inspired me to take up ballet for the first time in 20 years. I’d never lost my love of it and often daydream about my lost career as a dancer with the Bolshoi company (in reality this would never had happened, not least because of my second love of baking and cake!.) Taking up ballet has tested me in so many ways, from overcoming insecurities about being seen in pink tights and leotard (I was very glad to move away from the studio with mirrors), to having to interact with a group of people I didn’t know, to doing something that I knew I wouldn’t be very good at on a weekly basis to finally appearing on stage. It’s took me out of my comfort zone and beyond, but I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s remind me what its like to learn something new and the practice and perseverance that needs to be put in to something if you want to progress, but the ultimate sense of achievement in succeeding. More importantly its been the little bit of my week that is just for me and in those weeks that I’ve really not wanted to go or been over consumed with work it taught me the importance of having some time out. It’s improved me as a person and as a learner and teacher and I know that continuing to go is a resolution I need to keep for 2013 and beyond and possibly also supplement it this year with some Tap too!

Feb 2012 – The power of sharing a problem or sharing an idea: I think for everyone February is a difficult month. Days are still long, but daytime short. The sprint of January exams is done, but the marathon of the summer is still there. Teaching is a rollercoaster there are great highs, but sometimes lows. What I learnt in February was that a problem shared helped to climb back up from those lows and an idea shared takes you to newer heights then you can ever imagine. What ever level your at, be it a classroom teacher, a member of SLT or MLT, I have come to realize this is always true and I am very grateful that I have a fantastic support team around me both at school and home that will support and challenge me in equal measures. It also reminds me that in 2013 I want to make sure that I make enough time to support people back (because people are the most important commodity in our job) and equally to encourage people to share their ideas no matter how crazy or mad they may seem….most of the best ideas are!

March 2012 – The power of a thank you: There is no greater feeling than being thanked and there is no greater feeling than a simple thank you from a surprising source. It may be a simple thank you from a student for helping them progress in a lesson, or from a colleague for making a cup of tea or for some support that you have offered or incredibly for just being a friend or just being you! Two very simple words, but boy do they mean a lot. I consider myself to have a lot of things to be thankful for and a lot of people who I am thankful too. People matter! I think 2012 has constantly reminded me of this and in 2013 I’m going to make sure that I say thank you!

April 2012- The power of an extended learning community: April was about the time I begun to discover the world of blogging and twitter and what a whole new world of people and adventures it’s opened up. Some would say that I work to the point of obsession, but the reality is it’s just that I love my job! I’m fortunate to have found a number of people along the way who share this love, but equally have been met with a number of people who didn’t and at times that’s left me to shying away from talking about it, or being proud to be a teaching geek! Twitter and blogging changed all that and changed it with vengeance. What I found was a whole host of amazing people who just wanted the same things to be better to teachers and create better learners. Where else would I have found out about SOLO, marginal gains, hexagons, place mats to name but a few and where else would I find 24/7 access to the best CPD available. It has satisfied my desire to find new ideas, but also has challenged me to take these ideas, adapt them and to be brave enough to try out ideas of my own, no matter how crazy they may seem. There are so many inspirational teachers and unsung hero’s out there and I hope during 2013 I can share this passion, mold some of our own in school and give back to the twitter and blogging family what it has given to me.

May 2012 – The power of going SOLO: After reading the brilliant blog posts of Tait ColesDarren Mead and David Didau a while back, I have been using their ideas and inspiration to have a go at using SOLO taxonomy with some of my groups and the impact has been phenomenal. There are lots of different ways they can be used in lesson, as you will see from the blogs, from simple applications like using it to set effective learning outcomes to using it to scaffold a revision lesson that allows students to progress at there own rate.  The key is to really understand the symbols and concepts, which the pupils will, and then find a way that works for you, If you haven’t tried it yet what are you waiting for! It really helped me to develop my teaching in 2012 and in 2013 I want to continue to develop it as much as possible in own and teaching and others.

June 2012- The power of being made to believe you are far more capable then you ever thought possible: I’ve blogged about this before, but perhaps the biggest lesson I learnt this year and in my life as a whole was the power of self-belief. I don’t think I can ever really communicate what this has done and continues to do, but I think as I approach 2013 one thing I am going to do is make sure that I continue to try and work on bringing this out in myself, but also bringing it out in my students and my colleagues. If people only believed how much they are capable of they would never be prepared to settle for anything less!

July 2012 – The power of collaboration: A few weeks back I blogged about why collaboration works at every level and I continue to see the power of this at every level. From watching my 6th form work collaboratively on their revision, working on each other’s weaknesses and without direction or instruction. Working with groups of students and staff in the collaborative learning room and the amazing ideas that comes from it. Working with member of my faculty to collaboratively plan a lesson or with the other members of staff through the Learning Matters group to introduce SOLO. Working with my fellow members of SLT to discuss a new strategy or initiative we need to bring in. To the great adventure of working with those people I line manage to develop their own departments and to see them really grow and shine in doing so. To the great privilege of working with a fellow AHT in developing me in my role and paving the way to Oz! It all reminds me that the best things are always achieved through dreaming big and collaboration and that collaboration with anyone at any level always teaches you a little bit of something new about your self and a lot more about the situation. So in 2013 I want to make sure that I keep the collaboration going at every level and to look for as many ways as possible to get other people to follow suit!

At the end of last year I found myself stood on a table adjusting my projector so that is pointed to the floor rather than the whiteboard. Why I may hear you ask? Well mainly because I had read about its use somewhere, but secondly because I loved the idea of turning learning on its head. The rest of my lovely department weren’t quite so enthused by my idea and how it would really focus teaching to be more active and less about about a teacher being stood at the front of a classroom (I admit in hind sight this was one of my more crazy ideas as a Head of faculty). However they indulged me for a bit and even helped to adjust the projector, but they weren’t convinced, even with my talk of being part of the lesson by jumping into the projection or my enthusiastic hand waving.  So undeterred I sent for my equally mad and inspirational LM who I knew would indulge my new idea. Now what happened next and how we got from pointing a projector to the ground to a complete renovation of our department computer room I don’t know, but what happened over that next couple of hours and days was the design and development of what I think is a really amazing learning space. Our collaborative Learning Room……which true to form was designed collaboratively.

The room originally had contained 20 computers and was used extensively by the department, but I figured that as learning is changing so should we. The room (as you will see below) is now home to 6 hexagon tables in the 6 thinking hats colours, each surrounded by 5 different coloured chairs to allow for jigsawing of groups. Each station then also has its own whiteboard (colour coordinated of course), for project management, group drafting of work, setting of own groups success criteria using SOLO…the list goes on! A computer is also there for research purposes and we have also recently invested in an Ipad for each station and apple TV (although we still need to get to grips with this aspect more fully. Each station also has its own set of trays containing various AFL resources and papers and other stationary so that students can be totally self sufficient and independent through the lesson.

Image

Now we’re still learning how to use the room to its full capacity, but I have to say I love teaching in there and the new opportunities it presents to me each and every lesson. The kids love learning in there too and are always excited about what the next lesson will bring.

The secret of what makes this room so great though is the fact that it’s not just a “Collaborative Learning Room” by name, but by essence. It was formulating though collaboration, it continues to develop through collaboration and is now being used extensively to run meetings at ever level collaboratively.

For this reason I love the room because it always remind me that I work with some really inspirational people and that the best things are always achieved through dreaming big and collaboration!

So my journey into blogging hasn’t been going so well, 2 months on and this is only my second blog. It’s not through want of trying, more just time and wondering whether I have a voice that wants, or needs to be heard. My life has changed somewhat over the last 2 months and as I embark on a new journey into SLT I wonder whether this might be a chance to also reembark into blogging.
This week I was reminded of the 15th June 2012. Now this date sticks in my head as a really important day for me, this wasn’t the day I got promoted, but was  a hinge day or defining day maybe….probably to me one of the most important days of the year so far.
 
That was the day I told someone about this person who hides in my head. She is brilliant, Capable. Articulate. Proud. She can manage and lead an outstanding department and be proud to share her love and passion for teaching with anyone. She can wear a dinosaur costume in public and not care what judgments people make and she can give a presentation or sit in an SLT meeting without freaking out. She’s a good teacher, maybe even an outstanding teacher. She’s me, only so much better. I’m afraid I’ll never become this person in my head, because something keeps getting in the way. 
 
For 6 months I have not only thought about that person, but I have looked in the mirror and seen her because I’ve been given the courage, respect and belief to do that. That’s not to say that I’ve been stead fast in that view, but whenever it’s felt like its slipping away I’ve read back through emails, or through the amazing stuff I’ve been part of over the past few months and I’ve once again been able to see her and so much more. 
This last few week that image has been shattered and I couldn’t get it back, that has frightened me beyond belief and in my head I thought this had happened because I was useless at this new role. Actually I know its happened because I’m very tired and because the reality of the new role has pulled the rug from under me. 

I was comfortable in MLT and found my feet, I’d got to the sage that I was good at what I did and I knew it. People listened, people respected me and I believed I was making a difference. I was part of a team and I was comfortable. I had the best LM I could ever ask for and I knew she always had my back. I could drive forward with ideas and was confident in the knowledge that the decisions I was making could and were making a difference. I was starting to work in SLT and enjoying dipping my feet in. I knew what I was, who I was and felt happy and safe. I was starting to believe that I could achieve more than I ever could and that I wasn’t Little Miss Average.

This week I’ve realised that I was scared, had been plunged into SLT and was drowning. I was at the stage that I felt completely overwhelmed and out of my depth, I didn’t really know what I was doing and I knew it! I am having to build up credibility again and I know the reality is I’m not going to be able to make a difference in the short term. I felt I have lost my team, my safety net and I felt lonely and that was uncomfortable. I still have some of the best colleagues I could ever ask for , but I felt like I can’t drive ideas forward and felt like I need someone checking all my thinking, ideas and strategies & judging myself and my ability at every stage and struggling to believe that I can make a difference. I have no idea who I am and what I am doing and that is bloody scary. I was starting to believe that I had taken on more than I could handle. 

As the week has gone on though I started to rationalise it all and think through the 30 second rule I have always been reminded of and I thought about all the hard work and energy I and my inspiration have put into getting me to where I am now and I found the fight. The paragraph above may sound irrational, but actually being able to write it down makes it better, the truth is all those things are true and are scary, and I should feel like that, as anyone would taking on a new challenge, but I know I felt like that when I first took on HOF and I got through that. The truth is not only have I been made to believe that I am better than I ever thought possible, but also stronger! I’m proud of how I am a much stronger, confident women and I don’t want to go back, I just want to move forward. This week its going to be small baby steps, but rather that then giant steps back. It’s a learning curve, but I am loving every minute of it and the challenge of the journey ahead. One thing is for sure I love my job, the people I work with and I want to give it my all.

Some weeks, the whole world seems upside down and you’re not sure whether you’re coming or going. Then somehow, improbably, and when you least expect it, the world rights itself again thanks to someone! 

So after months of sitting reading various blogs and twitter feeds I have decided its time to join in.  So in between stressing about the impending return to work and the mounting things to do list, I’ve decided that one thing I am determined to tick off is starting a blog.

So here you have it my first ever blog….I’m a mixture of scared and excited, wondering whether this is a good idea. As someone who is constantly worried about being judged and getting things right maybe not, but as someone who is constantly reflecting on my own thoughts, feelings and ideas on learning then I’m going to jump into it with two feet.

99.9% of the time I love my job and feel incredible lucky to do it. Yes it’s not without it’s frustrations, but ultimately there is something everyday that challenges me or makes me smile and it is that that gives me the strength to get up each and everyday and to work as hard as I do….although as you will quickly learn my work/life balance is completely sided on the work!

I have been very fortunate over my career to work with some wonderful people (and I am working with a couple right now to who I am eternally grateful!) and am currently Head of Faculty to the most wonderful science team and they are all a major reason, along with the students that have kept my passion alive. Over the last few months I’ve also been really inspired to find so many other people out there who are just trying to do the best job they can each and every day. Reading their Blogs and twitter accounts has really enthused me to keep trying my often weird and crazy ideas and to see that loving your job is not something to be ashamed of.  I hope that I can use this Blog to collate my thoughts and reflect on my own practice, but also use it as a platform to talk to others about their own journey into learning.

So as I sit her making a list of all the things I haven’t done and should have by now (It currently is a 31 point things to do list….) at least I can end the day thinking I’ve achieved one thing. I’ve written my first Blog…maybe 2012 is going to be a year of kept resolutions and achieving of dreams.

Fingers Crossed.

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