I’ve read so many inspiring and interesting #nurture1314 posts over the past few days; I thought I’d give it a go. It seems like a good way to start a blog, although I’m not sure I can begin to compare with some of the achievements and successes I’ve read on other blogs.

13 reflections on 2013

1. My lovely (and very tall) son managed to get himself good enough GCSE grades to do his chosen subjects at Sixth Form. This is all down to him, although I like to think my sporadic nagging had a little impact. I just hope he’s learned that a little hard work pays off and translates a “little hard work” into a “bit more hard work” for the next two years to get even better AS and A level results. I need to dedicate more time to helping him see that, and showing him how successful he can be if he tries.

2. I adopted a beautiful rescue dog, Bella. It had been over a year since our beloved Boo had died and time to fill the dog-shaped void she had left. Bella is filling the void nicely. Now all I need is for her to behave all the time, not just when she chooses! Again, I need to dedicate more time to helping Bella achieve this. I can see a pattern beginning to form already…

3. In my second year in my current post, I feel settled and happy at school. It’s only my second teaching post, and very different to my first, desperately unhappy position. It’s taken me a while to adapt and relax, but I think I’m there now. I’m lucky enough to work with some fantastic people, in a very supportive environment.

4. I’ve got to grips with teaching a different age range. Again, adapting from a whole KS2 class to a Y2/3 class took a little while, but I really think I’ve got it this year. The children’s results have been good and I know I’ve become a much more reflective teacher who is able to plan more personalised, responsive lessons.

5.  Planning. It took me a while to be brave enough to free myself from the constraints of my previous school, but I’m there! @TeacherToolkit’s 5 minute plan really freed me up and I was incredibly proud to have one of my early examples shown on @SparkyTeaching’s site. I’m now spending less time planning better lessons: that’s got to be a good thing however you look at it.

6. I think I’m slowly beginning to make an impact in school and do something positive in my role as English and ICT co-ordinator. I needed time to find my feet and develop my confidence, but I’m now beginning to be a little more proactive. I’ve started a whole school blog; set up a school writing portfolio on LendMeYourLiteracy; arranged iPad inset for a cluster of small schools in February with @ICT_MrP; arranged a poetry workshop; organised a book-swap event in school and played a large part in writing a new grammar and handwriting scheme of work incorporating progression through @alanpeat sentence types. I’m feeling quite proud of myself!

7. I’m really enjoying being on Twitter. I’ve learned so much from teaching colleagues, and, having lurked for a while, am now brave enough to interact with others; ask and answer questions, and generally get involved. Twitter has led to my class joining an on-line wiki learning about Christmas around the world; my class skyping an Erasmus student in Italy and planning to tweet a teacher as she travels around Australia in January, amongst other things.

8. 2013 for me was the summer of running. I started with a vengeance in early spring, and kept the momentum going until mid-September. I looked forward to every run, enjoyed it while I was running and felt good about myself afterwards. I’m cross with myself that I let my momentum waiver and allowed dark nights, being back at school and a few other things to interfere.

9. I built a stronger relationship with my sister. We’ve both really needed each other this year, and as a result we’ve become much closer and much more understanding of each other than we’ve ever been. I’m very glad to have her as my sister and we’ve both realised that we love each other very much.

10. Wrestling with work/life balance. I made a resolution in about October that I would not spend both weekend days working. I’ve managed to stick to it so far, mainly due to 5 above, but also by believing in my teaching more. I do not need a completely scripted, planned in minute-detail lesson plan to be able to teach well.

11. I achieved that holy grail of teaching: an outstanding lesson grading for my latest PM observation.  The bit I’m most proud of is that the observed lesson wasn’t a show, it was my ordinary teaching. Ok, maybe there was a little extra planning and polish, but I’m confident that the feedback I’m getting, and the reflecting I’m doing, is helping me to move more and more towards being an outstanding teacher.

12. I lost quite a bit of weight this year, and managed to keep it all off, despite my running motivation taking a bit of a nosedive. It’s given me a little more self-confidence and I am determined not to let it slip back on without me noticing. The huge amounts of cheese and chocolate currently in the house are not helping me in this.

13. I made a stupid decision earlier this year that I regret every day. The consequences are beginning to look like they may be irreversible and that makes me feel very sad. It’s had a real impact on my life and I want to be able to learn from it, but at the moment I’m finding it very hard going.

14 wishes for 2014

1.  To spend more time with my son, not just doing his school work, but just being. He started school as I started working in schools, and has spent his childhood watching me get my degree, complete teacher training, achieve my MA and begin teaching.  I should have spent more time with him, and this year I hope to do so.

2. To find a trainer who will help me with my dog, and dedicate enough time to her training for it to really work. She’s not naughty; she’s just over-exuberant and easily distracted. For all our sakes, I need to help her learn how to come back every time she is called.

3. I want to continue to make a positive impact at school, especially as we begin to explore the new National Curriculum. I passionately believe in Talk for Writing and using stories as a basis for all writing, and I feel that this is such a good opportunity to put stories at the heart of English teaching across school.

4. School has kindly received a donation big enough to purchase two iPads. It’s a small start, but it is a start. I hope our inset with @MrP_ICT in February will kick start our use of technology in school to enhance teaching and learning and that I can help it to develop as the year goes on.

5. To attend a TeachMeet. I was due to attend one which was cancelled, and then due to deliver a micro-presentation at another which was also unavoidably cancelled. This year I am determined to at least attend one.

6. To go out more. I can count the number of times I went out in 2013 on the fingers of one hand, and still have several digits left over.

7. To run more often, more quickly and further.

8. To get off my plateau and kick-start my weight loss again. I’d like to lose about the same again, and then maintain it.

9. To go on holiday.  I can’t remember the last time I went abroad, and my last UK holiday is also a dim and distant memory.

10. To investigate how I can become published. During my MA a few years ago, I became very interested in journal writing. Maybe now’s the time to really think about it seriously.

11. To make the effort to see my sister more, and build on the good relationship we’ve developed this year.

12. To make a big change. I’m not sure which direction this one’s going in yet, but it’s definitely needed.

13. If I’m able to, I’d like to take on an ITT student at school.  I’m comfortable enough now with myself as a teacher to be able to help a trainee develop their own practice, and would like to be able to put my coaching and mentoring skills from my MA to good use.

14. To be the best teacher I can be, for every child in my class.