#nurture1314 – Living and Learning

I was reluctant to write for #nurture1314 in case I ended up producing one of those posts that reads like a smug round-robin Christmas Card – all I need to do is plop a picture of my adorable kids on the front and you can all vomit away. It’s been quite a year. Last year I did not use twitter. I didn’t blog and I didn’t know most of the people who will read this post. I was pretty much the same person, but instead of venting into cyberspace, I howled like Lear into the ear of my endlessly suffering husband. I suspect he’s quite glad I found twitter. So here goes…

Thirteen for 13

1. My new piano was delivered today. I learned when I was young, unlearned as I aged and promised myself that one day I’d relearn. The day has come.

2. I passed my doctorate. I am Dr. Kidd. But the very best bit was getting flowers and a card from Jane Hewitt who is just a big heart on legs.

3. I was asked to write a book. It has a cover and an ISBN number and everything except the writing, but I’m working on that.

4. I started to blog and found I couldn’t stop. Since my first post in February, nearly 80,000 people have read it. That blows my mind a bit. I find people who tweet how many people read their blogs really annoying, but I couldn’t resist this one little mention. I promise I’ll never do it again.

5. I wrote a letter to Michael Gove and almost 4000 people signed it. Without that letter, I’d never have learned how kind strangers can be. That’s been the biggest lesson of the year – the overwhelming generosity of others has restored all my faith in humanity. Tim Taylor, in the midst of hideous treatment for his cancer, spent hours setting up my web pages and pushing for support. I’ll never forget his kindness. Or that of @betsysalt, hounding MPs and journalists all day one Saturday to get attention for the letter. Or the incredible energy of Jackie Schneider who retweeted until her fingers must have fallen off. Or all the others who saw a chance for the ordinary classroom teacher to be heard and who joined in the chant. We were heard.

6. Being on the telly is horrible. But I’m glad I didn’t make a complete arse of myself.

7. Spending time with two of my favourite men – Hywel Roberts and Mick Waters this year was a highlight. Every second spent with them is joyful.

8. Meeting like minded twitter sisters – Emma Hardy, Laura McInerney and Miss Smith and realising they were as warm and funny in real life as they were in 140 characters.

9. Putting a tweet out to suggest we have a Northern Education conference and surfing the tsunami of yeses that came my way. Too often twitter is a disagreeable and argumentative place, but on that Saturday night, it was a ‘yes, can do’ space and I’m really grateful to Emma Hardy and Daniel Britton for just being brilliant and so darned capable and to all the speakers who put themselves straight out there. Amazing.

10. Being back in school after a long(ish) gap was tough. No-one who has not taught full time in a school can ever comprehend how tough it is, but despite all the demoralising bashing from Michael One and Michael Two, it’s still a job that brings joy. Children are…well, you know. Endlessly surprising, full of wonder, full of challenge and every day is different. For someone with a goldfish attention span like me, no other job can satisfy.

11. Having my thinking challenged by new ideas and thoughts from others has on the whole been a good thing this year. I’ve refocused on ensuring that my lessons are knowledge rich, as well as creative and although I know I have a long way to go to be the teacher I want to be, thanks to this government, I’ve got another 23 years to get it right.

12. I’m eternally grateful to my HT, Matthew Milburn, for recognising my caged bird fears and for giving me the freedom to go out and recharge when I need to. I love the work I do with the International Schools Theatre Association – it’s work I treasure and I’m so grateful to my school for releasing me to do these fabulous festivals all over the world. Time spent in Terezin with Pavel Stansky, a holocaust survivor and all the young people who came with us will stay with me forever. As will the heady post-doctoral viva days in Istanbul with a great team of artists and teachers. Lovely me/we time.

13. Family. My children continue to grow and thrive. Eldest will graduate this year from Oxford and start that adult life he’s been longing for. Middle child is in the middle of GCSEs, already feeling battered by the endlessly changing wind of whimsy that is government education policy. He swears he will never vote Conservative…..every cloud…….And youngest is still joyful, still untainted by expectation, still full of hope and wonder. Though he does separate school into ‘fun’ and ‘learning’ which is a shame. My parents are moving closer to us and I can’t wait to have them just around the corner. And my husband? Well, he continues to carry me, camel like, through all the shifting sands of my fickle obsessions without ever getting the hump. Perhaps next year…

Fourteen for 14

1. I will be a better wife

2. And a better piano player

3. And I’ll finish my book

4. Emma Hardy and I will pull Northern Rocks off

5. I’ll find a way to bring children’s voices to the attention of politicians

6. I’ll nail our new curriculum

7. I’ll be running without throwing up at the end (I’m in week 2 of couch to 5k)

8. I’ll remember to submit all my registers on time

9. I’ll get to Woodrow school

10. I’ll have worked in Beijing and Singapore and….(drum roll) … Cornwall with ISTA

11. I’ll change my mind about a million times

12. I’ll be a good friend

13. I’ll no doubt make a few mistakes

14. And I’ll try not to beat myself up too much about them. Because life is too short.

Happy new year to you all.

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19 thoughts on “#nurture1314 – Living and Learning

  1. Lovely post. Well done for all of the achievements but especially the doctorate, congratulations.

    As far as the 14 for 14 go, I believed every one except this one..

    “I’ll remember to submit all my registers on time”

    If I had 1p for every time I heard a teacher say this I would be very rich.If I had 1p for ever time a teacher forgot to submit a register I would be even richer. LOL

    Happy new year and may they all come true.

  2. And a very happy New Year to you Ms Kidd. I hope you make the ‘floor target’ for your 14 (ouch sorry). Good luck with the piano. We look forward to your continued Twitterings over the coming year

  3. You always write straight to my heart! I’m at the beginning of the doctoral journey but very excited. Thank you for nailing all the things I know I want to / will want to say as my discoveries reveal themselves. I catch myself wishing I could be so elegant in my writing.
    New Zealand is tragically emulating all that is woefully unjust about the UK system. We can use your words, inspiration and courage to resist.
    Best wishes for 2014.

    1. Great to hear from you . Good that you are a “real doctor”. I have been and NHS GP for a very long time and share your ambition to find ways of making sure that politicians listen to the voices of children and young people. The book “Not to be ignored” by Paul Harker , Public Health Doctor – assures me that we must do this.

      1. Thank you Malcolm – not sure about the ‘real’ doctor though – I wouldn’t be much use in a crisis!! I’ll definitely read the Harker book – thanks for the tip, and I may come back to you later in the year when I decide how to go about getting these children’s voices out there! Happy new year to you.

  4. Great post, Debra – as ever!

    Have read tons of the #nurture1314 submissions now, and found each one interesting, partly for what it tells me about the people who write them, and partly for how it encourages me to reflect on my own experiences, priorities and choices.

    This has been a fab year for you (you were GOOD on the telly and as for the doctorate – you know how envious I am that you’re THERE!) and I’m sure next year will be even better. I look forward to meeting you at Northern Rocks, if not before.

    Hope that the Christmas holiday has given you lots of opportunity to enjoy the company of those you care most about, and that 2014 is positive, productive, rewarding and happy.

    1. Thank you Jill – I’m really looking forward to meeting you too and hope that 2014 is a great year for you. See you in June πŸ™‚

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