Another year of blogging nearly over (except that my blogiversary is in October, but ignore that for artistic purposes, please), it’s Boxing Day (not any more) and Sam and I are watching the Strictly Christmas Special (I’m now keeping out of the way while they play with their toys), and my computer power source Is No More, so I had better be quick. It’s odd, but I can’t be the only one who finds the medium of transferring thoughts to digital page an integral part of the process; it is strangely disconcerting to be tapping this out on a tablet (I ordered a new computer, the old one doesn’t owe me anthing). It’s time for the Nurture post.
So, without further ado:
It was only a footnote last year (I checked, just to be sure) (what was I thinking?). That was a bit of a major oversight, wasn’t it? This year Things I Wrote caught the eye of newspapers and magazines. The odd bit (faints) was sent to the DfE. My mum even told me that they were discussing inclusion on Woman’s Hour. This is great. Debate is good for educators and, as Laura MacInerney says, we need to step away from the fear of getting it wrong to ask the hard questions that need asking in the interests of children and young people like Sam, who need educators like me to empower them in order to make their futures a bit brighter.
For me personally, when I look back, I have to shake myself and glance up at the mantel shelf, just to check it was real. There I was, this time last year, one angry ranter at the kitchen table, contributor to Teach Primary (buy it everyone, it’s very good), I wrote my ideas about why more and more children are rocking up in special schools and BOOM. TES got me to write not one, but TWO cover features (fans self), and gave me a column (fans self again, look out for the new look version in the new year) (buy it, buy it) and an extremely lovely award (looks at it again and shakes head in disbelief). It still feels surreal, to be perfectly honest. This summer I wrote a book! It comes out in May (roll up, roll up!).
It feels like SEND in education is firmly on the agenda – thank you. I, for one, intend to keep on banging on about it.
They were high up on my agenda last year, and they remain there this. Unfortunately, what with me doing so much writing (I’m not complaining), I’m working nearly all the time and my social life has gone down the toilet. Now that L is grown up enough to take herself to school and back most of the time, I have no excuse to hang around in the playground either.
I have, however, made good on my promise to myself and got out of the house enough times to meet some of my internet chums (do as we say, kids, not as we do!) and had a glorious time cementing friendships (narrowly avoiding the making of jelly in kettles) and discovering a professional world alongside that of the classroom. I seem to have got myself a set of much valued mentors, whose advice I very much appreciate. I’m raising a glass to you Sue, Jill, Emma, Laura, Ann, Liane, Choco, Rachel, Sinead, Marc and no way least Jon (who has a beard).
I also seem to have got myself a team of conspirators, which makes me happy – I’m raising a chocolate biscuit to Kirsty, Paul, Hayley (TeamT21), Tanya and ADZ (Team SNJ), Simon, Jarlath, Mary and Cherryl (Team Specialist).
I spoke at things. People listened. This is a new experience for me!
We went a bit mental and bought a teepee (I blame you entirely Jules). It was great. This Christmas has been the Year of Camping Gifts. By the time it comes to the summer I am investigating camp beds-that-do-not-pop.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. We sailed all the way up to October half term! We did not win. We came spectacularly last more than once. We sat discussing tactics at the tea table. Sam has not needed an overly large amount of watching. I never thought the day would come.
This year has been the year of the Senco course. Apart from giving me a new set of professional contacts amend a forum within which to expound my ideas, it has given me weight to bring to bear behind my half formed impressions. It has been a bizarre and strangely emotional experience to see aspects of my life enacted in the pages of academic journals. It has been liberating too. I can’t say that I enjoy academic writing very much (I like long sentences, thank you, they make me feel like Virginia Woolf), but I do like engaging with ideas.
Last Christmas R bought me a camera, and this year I have learned an awful lot about how to use it. You can see my blog worth of photos here. I have been taking them lately (honest!), but I can’t download them at the moment, what with the computer being bust and all; there is a load in waiting. I have enjoyed looking closely and really thinking about what makes a good photograph; learning that an image can tell a story too. I have enormous respect for Carol, Pamela, Dawn and Nichola,who have published a photo EVERY SINGLE DAY this year, and grateful thanks to Whatonomy and Myfot for artistic and technical advice.
So next year. What next?
You wouldn’t think it would take so long to come up with a name for an edu conference, but there you are. Liane, Lynda and I have been busy putting together a great day for teachers and researchers from across the sectors. The lovely Tom and Helene from ResearchEd, Debra and Emma from Northern Rocks and Stephen from Slt Camp have been so generous and kind with advice and help (even if they do keep organising events that are too far away for me to attend!).
At the end of Feb half term we are gathering in the rather nice Park Campus of Gloucestershire Uni to talk about education and see what PhD researchers have been up to. Talking is important to me (make of that what you will), so there are comfy chairs, coffee and lunch, as well as three top speakers, presentations, posters and a panel debate. There’s a media partner, even if, somewhat embarrassingly I had to ask what one was. If you want to get involved, please do let me know! If you want to come, please buy a ticket before they run out.
2. Primary Rocks Live
I’ll be talking about SEND. There had better be sofas and coffee and lunch.
I’d like everyone to stay safe and healthy, please. I don’t want to go to any more funerals. I’ve had enough of those this year.
I need to do something about that. I’d like to get back to Zumba, but it might have to be running and Pilates. I must make time. It really does make me feel better.
I’ll keep on doing it, even if no one reads it (but I really like it when you do – and especially when you comment, even when you tell me I’m wrong).
Thanks for reading, thank you so much for taking the time to consider the vulnerable and the ignored; for giving voice to the voiceless.