It’s that time of year again.. Reflecting on the plans made this time last year (link to last years ramblings: https://mrsartytextiles.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/nurture1415/)
I seem to have had yet another busy one not to mention the big changes set to happen to work etc. Best laid plans for 2015 didn’t quite get there.. Although, there are some things on my 2015‘ wish list’ that I managed:
“I embraced technology”
I successfully got to grips with my iPad, used to to create teaching resources and assess work etc. Was even asked to write a piece for the lovely people who make the book creator app (one of my favourites) to share my ideas for developing engaging teaching resources.
http://www.redjumper.net/blog/2015/09/top-tips-for-making-teacher-resources-fabulous at school I successfully managed to get iPads for the rest of my team for the start of this academic year so that they can start to benefit from the different applications within their teaching.
“More art for me”
After the nurture post last year I was introduced to the sketchbook circle – narrowly before the December 31st deadline I got signed up and ready for a year of sharing the creative process every month. This has been a lovely way of getting arty without it being WAGOLLs for work!
I’ve also been keen to get involved in the #teacher5adaysketch holiday projects on Twitter – a perfect excuse to take time out for a brief period in the day and create something… Also another good way of getting to grips with my iPad. The October half term project was used to develop my confidence with sketching with my stylus.
…as for the other wishes made last year, I’m not sure I can comment on whether I managed to be a good HOD. Guess you’ll have to ask my staff that one!
Now.. on to this year. I have opted to slim things down again this time, 5 ‘best bits’ from 2015 and 5 ‘wishes’ for the year ahead:
5 ‘best bits’ from 2015
Branston Teachmeet – sharing engaging literacy ideas
Was brave enough to present at the first teachmeet in Branston in October. I’m one of those people who isn’t totally bothered about standing up in front of people and talking (I was one of those arty drama types at school.)
However, there is something quite different about putting yourself ‘out there’ and presenting something that is quite personal.
I’m obviously quite happy with my often bonkers approach to teaching and like to develop my own quirky way of doing things. I pride myself on the attention to detail that goes into generating engaging resources for students and in my experience, they seem to work. Standing up and sharing that with a room full of peers was a little daunting to say the least! I’m so pleased that I did it though, it really gave me the confidence boost that I needed. Not only did I manage to do it and stick to my allocated 7 minutes (a tough one for me –I am a talker!) but I also met the lovely Jill Berry, Hywel Roberts, put a face to the fabulous @classcharts as well as lots of other lovely likeminded people… Truly an evening of inspiration and positivity- as professional learning should be! It’s the bit after the event that really surprised me though.
Having a steady stream of fellow teachers asking for advice and sharing their own versions of my literacy ideas was brilliant. It helped to make me feel as though I had developed something worthwhile and that others were benefitting from. I am still getting regular #literacyjenga images and tweets telling me how well the written analysis lessons are going after introducing the different methods inspired by my presentation. I’m just amazed that people ‘get’ my crazy approach and that it’s working for them. Having that recognition makes it feel as though I’m doing something right. It was much needed.
MA graduation – finally did it!!!!
Not a lot needed t explain this one as it pretty much speaks for itself. It was an uphill struggle at times, particularly in the final stages as the workload at school grew and grew. I got there though. The graduation day was lovely and it was so nice to be able to share it with my family. Giving my own kids a window into what might lie ahead for them. Ruby in particular was totally adamant that she wanted to do a graduation like mummy and that she is now going to university ..she is a very determined 9 year old!
Enrichment projects – making it real
I could have quite easily created a list of 5 best bits just using the different enrichment projects that I’ve arranged over the last 12 months.looking back I can’t quite believe how much I’ve managed to do.. And I have to say, most of the opportunities that have come up have been through me being a little bit cheeky and tweeting people.
In January year 12 were fortunate enough to have an audience with the owner of Doddington Hall to present their design concepts for fashion scarves inspired by the hall and its surroundings. It was lovely to see the students gain confidence and have a pride in their own work. It’s something that has definitely had an impact on their approach to their creative work and even allowed them to have a glimpse into what it is like to work to a set brief and present to the customer in a professional way.
In February a select group of year 8 students submitted illustration work to Waitrose food magazine. Something that developed from a cheeky tweet to the editor William Sitwell, the project allowed students to see what it was like to develop art for the real world – working to a very tight publishing deadline, having to redraft work to fit the requirements of the article, working with very specific imagery for the project. It was a fabulous test of their self management skills and they did brilliantly. Most surprising was how much of the work was featured in the printed issue and the press release for by Waitrose themselves.. I even got name checked in the editors letter at the front. It was a true proud teacher moment.
In the summer we were lucky enough to have the exhibition space at Whisby nature reserve for their ‘schools out’ exhibition. Yet another cheeky enquiry resulted in this collaboration and an ideal showcase for work produced in he department by students across all year groups. Seeing it all together was brilliant and allowed the wider local community to see how talented the students are.
The final ‘big’ project of the year was successfully installing numerous clay poppies made by our new year 7 students into the fabulous surroundings of Lincoln Cathedral. It was a dramatic installation with a mad dash to Tesco for ‘no more nails’ to fix the bits that slid off during the bumpy drive on the cobbles in uphill Lincoln! I’m pleased that I did it though. The kids were able to see their work displayed for something truly meaningful, promoting British values and in such a short space of time since starting secondary school – hopefully something that will have allowed them to see the importance of art.
Throughout the year it has also been fabulous to use Twitter to engage with the artists who inspire the students work. It’s lovely to be able to go back into school and show the students what ‘real artists’ think of their work. Kathy Dalwood and Loui Jover in particular this year have said some lovely things and have given students that little extra confidence boost in their ability as artists.
Being creative – getting my confidence back
As I mentioned at the start, having the time to be creative has been much needed. Us art teachers often spend so much time investing in the creativity of others that we lose our own creative confidence. The sketchbook circle and #teacher5adaysketch projects have allowed me to have an excuse to be creative, just to draw without the pressure of scrutiny or particular pressure to meet a brief. It’s been nice just to have a bit of time to do what I enjoy – I’m totally one of those people who has ADHD and stuff less to relax.. I can’t sit and read. Sketching is my relaxing.
New job – all change.. Eek!
In July I was successful in getting a new job. One that will start in January 2016. It’s an opportunity to step back into FE teaching (which is what I trained to do.) secondary teaching has taught me a lot and has given me lots of opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have had otherwise and I am grateful for that. I’m really looking forward to the new challenges that are ahead, it really will be a new year: new start.
5 ‘wishes’ for 2016
Write a book
This sounds a little ambitious, but actually more of a reality than it ever has been before. I obviously had issues after my MA was completed ..think I was getting twitchy with not having to type lots of things! Have already written a few chapters and submitted a proposal for consideration. Just need to keep fingers crossed that it’s good enough for the go ahead now.
More arty stuff
This will mostly be in the form of continuing with the sketchbook circle in 2016.. I have also started my own visual diary #fashionaday to record my outfits everyday in illustration form. It’s early days but I hope to keep this up and continue for the whole year.
I’d also love to get back into doing illustration again.. Seeing the process with the Waitrose magazine project made me realise how much I’d love to get back to designing. It’s been a while since I’ve done it properly but I’d love to give it a go again.
Do a good job
It’s a cliché I know.. But with me starting a new job it’s an important one. Having been pretty well established in the old place I’d really like to just settle in well and make a difference.
More time with my kids
They are growing up WAY too fast. All too often over the last year I have been so frustrated by the bulging Ikea bag of books demanding attention at weekends. It’s something that we all have to deal with but something that has got to change. The hope is that the new job will allow a better work life balance and allow more time. More time for my own kids for a change.
Just more time for me
This is probably the most simple wish but also the most difficult. As a working mum (with a husband who has a tres antisocial police inspector job!) finding time for me is difficult. Scrap that, it’s pretty much impossible! I’m either at work or in charge of the kids, often on my own with my other half working shifts. With the kids that bit older too, there is no longer that golden calm time after they’ve gone to bed (never ceases to amaze me how late they can stay up!) Alongside the creative stuff, I want to try and swim a bit more and actually use my gym membership – even if it’s just for half an hour a few times a week.
It will be interesting to see how things go over the next few months. I am hopeful that the changes are for the better – ultimately it is all in aid of achieving a better work life balance and allow more time for the important things. I wonder what next years nurture entry will be like….