Tuesday 31 December 2013

One Step Back and Two Steps Forward #Nurture1314

One Step Back - A look at 2013 and what it meant to me.
  1. Work/Life Balance - This year I vowed to reclaim my work/life balance.  It was terrible in my NQT year so I was at the "I can't continue this forever" point.  I'm a very solution-minded person so, rather than moan about it, I set to finding ways of rebalancing.  Finding weekly things to do has been a big part of this - I'm now part of a stoolball and a netball team.  I'm not sporty at all but I've loved learning new skills and being part of a team. There is a drafted blog post about this waiting on my hard drive as I feel I'm about halfway there.
  2. Learning - I started this year with a new blog, Learning365, in which I learned something new everyday.  It should have lasted all year but it was taking up too much time (see 1) so I went to 6 months! I have learned loads this year, some of which will feature below (see 4 and 11).  Highlights have been learning the guitar and bowling my first wicket in stoolball! 
  3. Assessment - This really clicked for me this year. I learned the value of assessment for learning and have found many different ways to assess work and alter my plans. I've become much quicker at marking (see 1 and 12) and any blog post on assessment that's ever been written, I've read it! It's become the most important part of my teaching, and my methods are always evolving.  This will continue into 2014 I'm sure! 
  4. Making Bread - I have always wanted to bake bread. It's my favourite food, especially when combined with full fat butter or olive/balsamic/chilli dips.  My first loaf was a Rosemary and Sea Salt one which tasted divine.  Since then I've made a variety of loaves including bloomer, granary and doughballs and even lead children in making it (see 7).
  5. OfSTED - Yes! They came, they saw, we conquered! After a year and a half of OfSTED-related staff meetings, they made their visit.  We came out as Outstanding and you can read how, here
  6. 30 Day Shred/C25K - I fancied having a go at my wedding-prep workout, the Couch to 5K plan, but this year I combined it with Jillian Michaels' gruelling 30 Day Shred DVD.  It was amazing and worked so well that I'm going to have another go this year! I blogged about doing them here
  7. Favourite Week of Teaching - After OfSTED's visit, I had an off timetable week with a group of years 5-6.  We spent a week making and baking bread to sell as part of an Apprentice task! They loved it, I loved it and they learned loads.  Read about it here
  8. Moving Schools - After 2 years of a 30 mile commute each way and a 5 hour journey home in the snow, I decided it was time to move to a school closer to home.  Although I miss and love my first school, it was a brilliant decision and I've moved to a wonderful school near my house.  I've settled really fast into a super team and I'm so excited about what next year will hold there.
  9. TeachMeet Sussex - In moving schools, I was moving to an area where there were no TeachMeets in primary schools. So Ben and I set up TeachMeetSussex. We had the first event in Worthing. Over 50 people came and heard some inspirational ideas.
  10. NQT - My husband started his NQT year this year and I've been supporting him through his first term.
  11. Hour of Code - I've loved learning about computer programming and coding with my class.  They really enjoyed taking part in the Hour of Code this year and I was blown away by the amazing, free resources provided on the website.  
  12. Stampers - This year, I became Stamper Queen! When assessing books, you will see me armed with my plastic box full of stampers that have helped me to reclaim my work/life balance (see 1!).
  13. Christmas - I was SO disorganised for Christmas this year - I'm ashamed of myself! School was sorted but home was a mess - I think I still need some work on number 1!
Two Steps Forward - A glance at 2014 and what I hope it will hold.
  1. New York - my husband and I are fulfilling a lifelong dream and heading to the big apple! I can't wait to see the normal touristy attractions and, of course, go and see my favourite musical - Wicked - on Broadway.
  2. Family - my sister lives far away so I hope to go and see her more often.
  3. Running - I'm hoping to train for a few 5k runs this year. I'm not a runner but I like the chilled-out time I get to myself when I run!
  4. Learning To Lead - having done 2 years in a one-form entry school I'm now in a larger school which has year leaders.  It's something I'd definitely like to do and so my wonderful year leader is letting me shadow her and learn the ropes. 
  5. Moving House - maybe...maybe not...but maybe! 
  6. Baking - I hope to make more bread, cupcakes and keep making my house smell good! 
  7. Blogging - I try not to blog for the sake of blogging. I only write posts when I feel there's something I want to say. This year, I'm going to try and make that happen a little more often. 
  8. Reading - this is surely one of the best pasttimes so I'd love to do more of it! 
  9. Pirates - my year group are putting on an awesome piratey musical and combining it with a mini pirate topic! I love pirates so I can't wait.
  10. Christmas - I was rubbish this year so in 2014 I'm going to make sure I'm mega organised - with stamps to send Christmas cards and everything! 
  11. Theatre - I mustn't go too much because it gets expensive but I'd like to go a bit, and maybe see Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time after our tickets got refunded because of the ceiling collapse.
  12. BETT - I'm so looking forward to going this year and getting my head around computing and the new curriculum. Also, I can't wait to go to the teachmeet afterwards! 
  13. NQT - I will continue to support my husband through passing his NQT year.
  14. Work/Life Balance - this will be on a similar list every year until I retire so here it is! 


  1. What a great end of year article Jo. I certainly miss you at school but am delighted that things are working out so well for you. You've got a really bright future ahead of you. Loved the OFSTED article too! :-)

  2. A great post. I definitely agree that work/life balance is hard. I'm taking a photo a day this year as my new year resolution. Hopefully there will be lots of fun things in there too and not just theme books and the laptop screen!

  3. I enjoyed your post, Jo - great stuff. Achieving a good work/life balance certainly is tough, and I'm not sure we ever feel we've 'cracked it', but it's something we need to be constantly aware of and working on (small steps...) so that we don't neglect the things and people that matter most - including our own health and well-being.

    Good luck in 2014 - may it be all you hope it will be!


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