2013 has simply been a manic year but equally unforgettable. A year of change and new experiences so I here are my #Nurture1314:
1) Turning 30 - I turned 30 at the beginning of the year and it was the best birthday so far. I was surprised many times by friends and family with their secret plots resulting in me seeing my birthday in our Nation’s capital in style! I was worried about turning 30 as so far my twenties had been amazing. However turning 30 has been great and I am excited by what my thirties will bring. This year has seen many of my friends also turning 30 and many gatherings and celebrations have ensued; a weekend away in Dorset with my University pals is one highlight of those.
2) 30 things – I madly decided to complete 30 ridiculous challenges across the year to raise money for Arthritis Research UK and these alone have made for an unforgettable year (www.mi30things.blogspot.co.uk). The challenges have ranged from fun events, such as going to Harry Potter World, to physically gruelling challenges. I think climbing Mount Snowdon on Hallowe’en against gusts of 40-50mph was a standout challenge and an experience I will never forget. What the challenges really showed me is the importance of friendship. I would never have completed many of them without friends and family supporting and encouraging me along the way. Some were crazy enough to join in with them and without those people, you know who you are, then some of the challenges would never have happened – trying to do a one mile rollerskate onesie wearing flashmob by your self doesn’t really work! Thank you to all those wonderful people who have helped, supported and donated!
3) Outstanding - This is my word of the year and pretty much sums the year up for me – 2013 has been outstanding personally and at work. As a teacher, I truly believe that it was this year that it clicked for me what outstanding teaching and learning was. It wasn’t a result of our Ofsted visit two days before the end of the Summer half term,; it was a visit we had from our head teacher’s sister, a headteacher at a local school, who had just been through Ofsted. She had offered to come and observe us teaching and proactively throughout the lesson gave feedback and advice to ‘Ofsted proof’ our lessons. So I prepared an all singing and all dancing Maths lesson, which I had been previously been led to believe is what Ofsted would be looking for (Add in the Britain’s Got Talent ‘No’ sound effect here!) What Ofsted are looking for is what I do each and every day – juggling plates and spinning off different learning in different directions. So after she said my lesson was good with elements of outstanding, she then declared she wanted to pop in and see my English after break! Bugger! I had spent so long on the Maths my English was a bare plan in my head. So I did what I normally do – send that group off, move on that group – spin, spin, spin, and she said it was outstanding. It dawned on me Ofsted don’t want to see the magic touches, they want to see the magic learning something I had been doing all along but never had the confidence in believing I had to do these all singing and dancing lessons. So when Ofsted came calling, I fine-tuned and tweaked lessons I would normally do and as a result I received ‘outstanding’ two lesson observations – credit totally going to a superb class of hardworking children eager to learn. They truly were the outstanding ones. My school received the accolade it overwhelmingly deserved and I have never felt prouder to work with such a wonderful, hard-working, talented and outstanding colleagues and friends.
4) Olly Murs – This year it was one of my challenges to meet the man of my dreams and I did. Meeting Olly Murs in the middle of the night in Brighton didn’t have the romantic grandeurs I had hoped, and I, to him, was just a face amongst many in the crowd however he made my year! He posed for a picture and signed my ticket and spoke a few words. Sadly he did not fall madly in love with me at first sight probably the tired, mid-week teacher eyes didn’t help that! I still believe Olly is my lobster and blame him entirely for my lack of ability to find anyone else who compares!!
5) New job – The 23rd of July was without doubt the most emotional day of the year for me as it was the day I left St James, the school I had been teaching at for just over 6 years. St James was my second home which had nurtured and developed my teaching career like caring parents. I started there as a mere PGCE student under the watchful eye of my dear friend Rob Gallop and they decided they wanted to keep me. Like any family, the school had its good days and bad days however the fun and friendships truly outweighed the bad. St James’ will always have a special place in my heart as there is ‘nowhere like St James’. It was the hardest decision I have ever made to leave, however I knew the time was right for me to move on and up the career ladder. So I hopped across the water to Hayling Island where I am now a Year Leader, ICT and Geography Leader and part of the SLT! It’s a challenge and a change however one I was ready for and I have grabbed with full force. I think they think I am bonkers, and I think they think I am mad however my kids are happy, my team are happy and the Head is happy so I must be doing something right! J
6) Keeping fit – 2013 has certainly been my fittest year! I have never been a runner however I have managed to clock up over 200 miles of running alone! I have taken part in 4 10k runs (Chichester, Bognor, Bupa 10,000, Chestnut Tree) and my biggest triumph the very windy Great South Run in 1 hr 43 minutes! Throughout the year I have had many wonderful running partners as running became more of a social event rather than a keep fit one. I have found I love running and as a teacher it’s been a great place to unwind from the day! I still continued to play stoolball and hit my first ever boundary this year! I tried new sports like Ultimate Frisbee and even cycled 70 miles around the Isle of Wight! Things I never thought I could ever do. I am looking forward to more sporting activities in 2014!
7) Cooking – I love food and this year, through my 30 things, I have been cooking different meals from different countries around the world. Some of them have been tasty some less so but it has reminded me how much I love cooking and baking! Cupcakes are turning into my signature dish!
8) New friends – This has been a year of dear friends and new friends. Over the year, friends have been there for me through my challenges and along the way I have met even more – I am very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I have been to some amazing weddings and 30th birthday celebrations. Many of my friends have brought little people into the world and it has been wonderful to be part of their lives. This year has seen many engagements and I am so happy and excited for all those taking a step down the aisle in 2014.
9) Being happy in my skin – I've always been one of those people who outwardly look like a confident person however this mask covers an inside of self-doubt, low confidence and self-belief. Those days seem few and far between. Turning 30 and completing my 30 things has given me the confidence that I can do anything if I set my mind to it and believe in myself. I have started to like myself a lot more and have become more confident in my own skin and mind – this needs to continue in 2014.
10) Music – Music makes me happy and nothing can be finer than listening to live music. So this year has been filled with music – a growing CD collection (Ben Howard, The Lumineers and Bastille are my favourites from this year) but also a growing concert list. I have seen Olly 3 times at least this year!! The Script, Capital One Summertime Ball and Robbie Williams headline my music from 2013!
11) Twitter –2013 has definitely been the year of Twitter. Twitter has introduced me to some wonderful educators who care about children and learning. It has been a constant source of inspiration and answers. I have attended several TeachMeets and presented at them as well as ran my own TeachMeet with the lovely Mr Addison. I went to the BETT show for the first time and look forward to going again in 2014. Twitter will always be my friend, I might not see it for a while, but when I do it is always there for me.
12) Car-this year,came the time that my trusty Angelina finally could not go on any more and after several reliable years and 160 miles of memories it was time to say goodbye. So I emptied out my savings and bought Frankie, it was about time I think!
13. Learning new things - This year has been about me showing how as a teacher and human being learning is for life. I have learnt many new skills and things from a new language to playing the ukulele. As a teacher I am constantly learning to better my practise and will always continue to do so. I love learning and making learning fun for the children I teach. I wonder what I will learn in 2014?
So after a crazy 2013, what are my hopes for 2014?
1. Have more time to chill – This Christmas has really reminded me the importance of having time to rest and reflect (even the Queen said so!)
2. See my friends and family more particularly those friends that live far away – I am looking forward to some UK road trips!
3. Keep running!
4. To cook even more exciting new recipes and dishes and have more dinner parties!
5. To complete my first year as a Middle Leader in a new school, continuing to learn and improve my teaching practise for the benefit of the children I teach. Make the right impact.
6. To create my own teaching blog and share some of my mad and crazy ideas and thoughts!
7. Read more books – I miss reading!
8. To go on holiday somewhere amazing.
9. To watch more football and go to more games.
10. To fall in love.
11. Being not afraid to speak my mind more.
12. To listen to more live music.
13. To eat breakfast more.
14. To be happy!
Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2014 brings you all health and happiness and magic!