Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review of 2011

2011 has been an adventure. It's been a long year (for nice reasons) and many things have made the year stand out. Here are some of the significant events:

Our baby, Lily, was born in April. To say she has turned our lives upside down has been an understatement. The first four months of the year was spent preparing for a baby - buying furniture and other baby stuff, painting a nursery and adjusting the time I spent at work. She arrived two weeks late. Then suddenly she was here! Starting a family really makes you consider your priorities and, although the amount of work you have to do doesn't decrease, you have to work differently to make the most of your time with your baby. I look forward to all the year ahead with my family.

Car crashes
My wife and I have both had (relatively minor) car accidents this year. Mine really scared me and it's not something I ever want to experience again.

Knee injury
I injured my knee in April when playing football and it's not been right since. I had an arthroscopy in August when a lot of my cartilage was removed and a tear to my ACL was identified. My consultant has said that he doesn't think it needs surgery but my physio wants me to seek a second opinion. It's really affected my fitness and it's annoyed me.

Changing year groups
At the start of the year I was beginning to feel settled in Year Three. At the end of the year I'm beginning to settle in Year Four. I've also moved classrooms twice. I've found the teaching year to be quite challenging.

I've realised after writing the above, that I feel fairly organised now. Things are settling down and I feel ready to make 2012 a successful year.

My favourite song of the year
Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger

My favourite film of the year
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (to be fair, I've only been to the cinema twice all year. However this film was superb - the perfect ending to a brilliant film series.)

My favourite TV shows of the year
The Apprentice & The Young Apprentice and Boardwalk Empire.

Teachers' 2012 Blogging Challenge

After reading about the 50-day blogging challenge on @nicwwfc's blog, I thought it might be fun to try arranging a similar challenge for teachers. There's no way, however, that I could blog every day for 50 days, so I've decided to have a 52-week challenge!

The idea is that each week you write a blog post based on the theme for that week. I'm going to try to publish mine on Sundays.

2012 Teachers' Blogging Challenge

Write a blog post each week based on the following themes:

Week 1: Introduce yourself
Week 2: Make a bulleted list of every lesson taught this week
Week 3: Your favourite lesson when you were at school – what is it like to teach it now?
Week 4: A funny story from your classroom experience
Week 5: Your favourite film
Week 6: 5 attributes that you admire in your colleagues
Week 7: Your least favourite lesson when you were at school – what is it like to teach it now?
Week 8: Your opinion on one of the latest education news stories
Week 9: Your favourite ICT tool
Week 10: Your favourite song
Week 11: List some of your favourite bloggers
Week 12: How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?
Week 13: A photo of your classroom
Week 14: A letter to your MP about education
Week 15: Your favourite food
Week 16: 5 inspiring people that   you follow on Twitter
Week 17: Your career plan
Week 18: Something you would like to learn to do
Week 19: A description of your best lesson this week
Week 20: Your favourite TV show
Week 21: Something you learned this week
Week 22: A quote that inspires you
Week 23: Your least favourite lesson to teach
Week 24: A resource you have used from
Week 25: A YouTube clip that you find funny
Week 26: Something that makes you proud
Week 27: Send an idea to and share it your blog
Week 28: Things you have planned to do with your class before the end of the school year
Week 29: 5 pieces of advice you would give to an NQT
Week 30: Your hobbies
Week 31: Something new that you have tried this year
Week 32: Your favourite lesson to teach
Week 33: Give a great way for children to learn their times tables
Week 34: A Facebook page that you have liked
Week 35: Your ideal summer holiday
Week 36: What did you do during the summer holidays?
Week 37: A photo of your school
Week 38: Your CV
Week 39: A smartphone app that you use for school
Week 40: Your favourite book
Week 41: Comment on three blogs
Week 42: Something new that you want to try in the classroom
Week 43: The best bit of advice that you've ever been given
Week 44: A time saving tip for teachers
Week 45: Your favourite possession
Week 46: What three words sum you up?
Week 47: What would you like to see happen change in the new curriculum
Week 48: A resources you have used from www.primaryresources,
Week 49: What Christmas activities do you do in school?
Week 50: Things you love about Christmas at home
Week 51: What would you like to try in the classroom next year
Week 52: Your highlights of the year

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


One of my favourite tweets of 2011 was from @angelabishop: "Pixar, which #stevejobs helped build, has a staff policy.Leave on time every day cos you can't make family movies if you never see your own."

It really made me think, and I began to realise how relevant this statement is for teachers too. How can you teach children and help them to develop a love of life and learning if you get too busy to spend time with your own family. If ever there was a message to remind us about what really matters it is this:
"Leave school on time every day and switch off from work because you can't teach children about life if you don't make the most of yours."


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Monthly Review: November 2011

I have found this month very hard. For various reasons I've missed management time and so have fallen behind with work. I feel like I haven't stopped all month. At least December is now upon us, which is a good time to relax as things wind down at school *sarcasm*. 

Our school house football competition and an inter-school competition have both finished this month. The member of staff that runs the school football team is very underrated. The amount of time that is spent attending football matches after school is outrageous. In our school we will have almost 15 after school football matches this academic year (more if we do well). And this is in addition to running the actual football club. In my school I'm fortunate that the role is shared with a number of colleagues.

Visiting LEGOLand Discover Centre
We enjoyed a school visit to the Discovery Centre in Manchester.

Paternity Leave
I was owed a few days of paternity leave which my headteacher kindly allowed me to 'bank' and take later. We enjoyed days out in Manchester and Warrington. I felt terribly guilty about taking the days now, but everyone has told me that I mustn't, and that I must enjoy them. "You'll never get these days with your baby again."

Not striking
I chose not to strike on 30th November. My reasons for this are not appropriate to be shared here and I will write them in a different post.

Monthly Review: October 2011

This month started badly, with a car accident. I wasn't injured and, luckily, no one else was in the car with me. The car was almost written off but it lived to fight another day. The insurance company have been very good, though. 

Blogging for school
I've discovered Primary Blogger, which is a free blogging platform for schools. I loved it, and I have set up a blog for our year group. At the moment it is just for sharing items of news but ultimately it would be good for sharing work on it. I have also set up a blog for my role as deputy head. This blog is purely for school news so I will be keeping Primary Deputy going as a personal reflection. 

Spinning metaphorical plates
I'm not sure what the start of this year has been so busy. It might be because I'm now a dad, and my priorities have changed somewhat. I've found it very difficult to stay on top of things at school and at home. The half-term holiday was a welcome break!

Senior Leaders' Conference
I attend a conference for senior leaders which I will write about soon! Not only is it a great opportunity to learn, but also it is a real perk of the job, staying at a nice hotel and catching up with colleagues from other schools.

Visiting Lincolnshire
We enjoyed a short break in Lincolnshire, our second short holiday as a family. It wasn't great weather but it was lovely to get away from it all for a while.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Something to remember