2016 has been a bit of a year, hasn’t it? Both on the public stage and for me privately, it has been a year of ups and downs, most of which have not made it onto the pages of this blog. Things You Don’t Say could have been the title, but then I might have hoodwinked myself into writing them down, so a more mundane, run-of-the-mill title it will have to be.
So, looking back to last year, what did I hope for?
- and 2. Meeting up with the Tweeps. Well, that was a success. I can’t say that running my own show was a particularly pleasant experience, or one that I especially want to repeat, but meeting so many of my online friends has been a joy. Hopefully, I will be able to meet you all again this coming year – you never know. Give me plenty of notice and I’ll see what I can do.
- I hoped for health and it sort of happened. This year, just for a change, I haven’t worried so much about Sam as about my daughter, who has given me more than a few sleepless nights. We’re still here. That’s the main thing.
- Hmm. The least said about that the better. I have a couple of new pairs of trainers and that’s about it. I’m blaming my new job and my new routine that I haven’t quite got used to.
- I love it. R tells me that I bash the keys of my computer with such force that I am in danger of giving myself an RSI, but there we are. My book came out in May (I was too shy to organise myself a Launch Party, I can’t bear the social anxiety) and TES published another cover feature, this time about the role of the SENCO, which I hope will be another little contribution to change for the better.
And next year?
- My doctor says that we are a memorable family. Looking after us takes a fair amount of adult effort, and, well, a lot of that effort is mine. Keeping everyone on an even keel as we set out on a year with big changes on the horizon is a low key hope.
- Drink less Diet Coke. I have started to become paranoid about my teeth and my bones. I need to look after me, and that means being sensible, doesn’t it?
- Read and learn. I had to give up on studying. I didn’t want to, but one thing and another conspired to make it just one more thing that I couldn’t do – but there no reason why I can’t read books, is there? After all, membership of a university library was the bit I most enjoyed the most. I have a stack of books waiting my attention, and, if I say that I will review them for work, I will force myself to actually read them, won’t I?
- I enjoy social media, but towards the end of this year it hasn’t been the easiest of places for me. I don’t feel silenced so much as bruised. Less time tweeting and more time spent with real people has got to be a good thing.
- Professional hopes. For a long time I haven’t had any of these. Having three kids, one of whom is disabled, makes pretentions to career ambitions the sort of thing that belong to other people. But my book came out in May. You never know, one day I might write another one. I write for Teach Primary, I have a bi-monthly column in TES that keeps me on my toes, and Driver Youth Trust gave me a job in September. I have given keynote speeches and delivered training. After four years of finding myself small, forgotten, squeezed in places to teach deeply underprivileged SEND children, I am actually starting to believe that I might have a bigger contribution to make, and I might actually be able to do it, as well as fulfilling my responsibilities at home. My heart still belongs to Down’s syndrome, and I will always find myself writing about it, and what it means to me, but I hope I can, as I have always done as a teacher, make a difference to more children than my own, to make the future a place for which it is possible to dream. I still struggle to believe in myself. It will take me a while to get over a long-lasting negative experience. I feel privileged to be working with people who not only seem to believe in me, but are kind.