Well, 2012′s done and dusted and we find ourselves in the almost unwritably ugly 2013, arguing about whether or not to pronounce it ‘two-thousand-and-thirteen’ or ‘twenty-thirteen’. Being something of a maverick, I like to switch between the two.
So, here are my own picks of that recently deceased beast, 2012. A year which saw a number of highs and lows (as one would naturally come to expect, I suppose).
Though in constant fear of typecasting myself, one of the things I was most pleased to see in my professional life last year was the nationwide (and indeed, international) explosion of the Digital Leaders concept. I’ll spend no time explaining the Digital Leaders idea (if you haven’t heard me bang on about it yet then count yourself in the lucky 2% of the population, or ask me if you’re genuinely interested in hearing more) – your favourite search engine and the search terms “Student Digital Leaders” or the like will no doubt fill in the gaps. (In the interests of avoiding upsetting anybody I’d like to also point out that Digital Leaders was not my idea in the first place – I borrowed and adapted it!)
Along with my Innovation Centres colleague, Vicki Cox, 2012 saw Bradford welcome its 50th school with Digital Leaders, which now includes both Primary and Secondary establishments. FIFTY! An amazing number really and something I’m pleased to have been involved with – now for two days a week, after an extension of my secondment to the Innovation Centres doubled my time working on such projects. Thanks to all of the teachers, senior leaders and pupils who have made the experience so enjoyable for me.
In addition to this, two colleagues from further afield, Sheli Blackburn of Norfolk and Nick Jackson, who can now largely be found in Adelaide, Australia, shared with the world The Digital Leader Network and Oz DLs respectively. The Digital Leader Network goes from strength to strength with an impressive number of schools now forming an active community, in no small part down to the enthusiasm and hard work of Sheli and the many teachers and students who make time to contribute. If I was to have a New Year’s Resolution it would be to post on this more frequently myself (and to stop telling Sheli I’m going to post things and then not doing it, but I won’t go that far just yet).
Oz DLs is a far newer phenomenon, which aims to bring the same level of success to Australian schools under Nick’s expert guidance. I’m convinced this will be one of the big Digital Leaders developments of 2013.
Again not wanting to rewrite posts already written, the stand-out events of 2012 for me included #CampEd12, the Naace Third Millennium Hothouse and the Naace Strategic Conference at which I was fortunate to be in the company of fellow candidates shortlisted for a Primary Impact Award, which I subsequently failed to win (a clerical error I’m sure Naace will be embarrassed to eventually spot. *Joking*). Thank you to all of the people who made these events so special. I won’t attempt to list you all here – you know who you are and I appreciate our conversations, laughs and opportunities to drink into the evening (even if it was only Ribena).
In the summer, and with only three weeks’ notice, I was invited by my friend, Steve, to accompany him on a three-week driving/camping holiday across France. Taking in the length of the country from Calais to Cannes, with Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy all getting a look in, too, we had an amazing time drinking cheap wine, eating local cheeses and enjoying the French heatwave, subsequently enjoying temperatures up to 42 degrees Celsius. Pictures to follow, perhaps…
As well as obviously enjoying the holiday at the time it was more apparent when I returned just how a) necessary it felt to get away and rest, and b) how fortunate I am to have been able to do it. On returning to school in September and being greeted by excited stories of pupils’ trips to Birmingham to see cousins or a visit to the park across the road, my luckiness was all too evident. And I’m very grateful for it.
Tales of sadness
Sadly, 2012 also brought about some less positive news. In July, the sad passing of my Great Uncle Ted, the World’s Loveliest Man, was difficult to take, but (looking on the bright side) the funeral provided an opportunity to see some members of my family I haven’t seen in years (why do we fail to make contact until such occasions? I suppose life gets in the way).
Shortly after this, in October, a former pupil of ours was tragically killed in a road accident close to school, in an incident which was widely reported in the national media. With mum, family friends and many of his former teachers still members of staff at our school the news hit us hard and is still very fresh in the hearts and minds of a great many people today, still so soon after the incident. Hopefully 2013 will provide fresh hope and comfort to those most affected by the tragedy.
So, all in all…
A mixed year of things to make me smile and feel proud, to cry and feel lost, but mostly a year surrounded by great people, in times of happiness and in sadness (I don’t mean this to sound like a rewrite of the Lord’s Prayer: Amen. But you take the point, I’m sure).
It would have been very easy to include a great many more things here, but these things just stood out as the most significant.
A toast to 2013 then, a year as any other in which I refuse to predict its highs and lows. All I can hope is that I continue to seek new opportunities to be better and to help others do the same. So, not that it’s a resolution – and it really isn’t – but I shall try to keep this blog more up to date than I did in 2012. I will. Honest…
How does your review of 2012 shape up?