Monthly Archives: December 2013

#Nurture1314 – the 2014 predictions / wishful thoughts

OK, #nurture1314 part 2: these are aspirations like last year’s, I hope they come true but that can be reviewed in June and December next year. So 14 !?!

1) Self

1.1 Continuing to develop my BD management. Currently doing two therapy based courses and setting separate targets that include using my mood diary, mindfulness time, and increasing my exercise. (1)

1.2 Being in work, re establishing a good attendance record. Possibly changing jobs / school, although hitting 50 may hinder that (any offers lol?). Enjoying my teaching. (2)

1.3 Spending more time with family and not multi tasking when I have time off. (3)

1.4. Taking time out for exercise (1.1) and making increasing use of my kayak bought this summer as the weather gradually warms up. (4)

2) Blog

2.1 Write more posts and try to go back to a balance of more education and less mental health. (5)

2.2. Develop more contributions with @ieshasmall to the mindshackles project. (6)

3) Twitter

Develop more links across subject boundaries and globally. (7)

4) CPD / Presenting

4.1. Teachmeets – continue to contribute as a presenter, already signed up for Pedagoolondon2 in March and sharing a workshop at Northern Rocks 14 in June. Also joint planning of TMHavering in February with @talkingdonkeyre. (8)

4.2. Developing the pedagogy group in current school to generate wider discussion and some action research projects. (9)

4.3. To learn some coding as part of Key Stage 3 computing course – currently able to use Scratch and Hopscotch, just started online Python course. (10)

4.4. Delivering a beginners apps workshop at the Geographical Association conference in April in Guildford as a representative of the IT Special interest group. (11)

5) General

5.1. Developing the elusive balance between work and home or at least increasing the non working aspect. (12)

5.2. Celebrating my 50th at Easter. (13)

5.3. A desire for a happier year with less than 4 months hit by BD etc. (14)

There we are, comments welcomed on here or via Twitter.

#Nurture1314 the review of 2013


2013 has been a year of ups, downs and plateaus. After an extended period of the Black Dog I reviewed my year using this blog to look back – apparently this is know as rigour and evidence based.


13 highlights

1) Self
As many of my regular readers are aware this has been a year of several extreme points. Recently depression and anxiety have see me signed of work so a review could possibly be very negative. Reviewing the year shows that: March,May, June and December have seen my lowest points. However, that means that 8 months of the year have been more positive and I need to remember this.

My blog now features a Mental Health category so readers looking for that do not need to read about pedagogy. The lows have been triggered by events within my close family and within myself and my own self esteem at the end of the year. (1)

2) Geographer
My main subject continues to be my focus although I also teach some Key Stage 3 computing.

2.1 The geography has included online research of global news stories by myself and lead TA, inc. the Queensland, Australia floods of February. (2)

2.2 Attending the national Geographical Association. Conference at Easter in Derby,where I just happened to holidaying nearby! My continued involvement in the IT special interest group and production of the revised apps sheet that was popular at conference. (3)

2.3 integrating pedagogy ideas read about or seen at events into my everyday teaching. From the 7Es lesson plan (@HThompson1982), Solo Taxonomy (@arti_choke), Ethic of Excellence (Ron Berger). (4)

3) Presenting
A busy year where I have presented to peers through talks, #edchats, video clips and talking face to face.

3.1 The year started with BETT13. I went on the Friday as I had got a ticket to the evenings Teachmeet. Usually, I have wandered around collecting information for myself and colleagues occasionally meeting familiar faces. This year I had met 10 people I knew before I had even got in. The day was a celebration for the movement to promote pupil Digital Leaders. I shared two Teachmeet Takeovers with: @dawnhallybone (geography apps) and @sheliBB (digital leaders). I met over 50 fellow tweeters. Then in the evening the Teachmeet. I had got involved and had agreed to investigate the proposed raffle focus and to sell tickets. Using web research I managed to make contact and then speak on the phone to the bank co-ordinating and the Parents organisation VP for Sandy Hook Elementary. On the night I was very hyper and pursued ticket sales with verve, I earnt a new nickname “Raffle guy” and we raised £650 far beyond my expectations. (5)

3.2 Digital Leaders – a focus from 2012 that continued mainly through leading our school group under my Cross curricular ICT TLR role. In July we filmed with Promethean with a new IWB model and now feature as UK secondary exemplar. We also reviewed some prototypes which we can not disclose. I was also invited to BCHS and spoke with staff who re interested in taking the idea forward. I also went to an event organised by @EPPS_ICT locally. (6)

3.3 Teachmeets – I spoke at 6 during the year- Milton Keynes, PedagooLondon TM, Essex (co host), Surrey (Garden Shed Productions video), Promethean Advocates face to face, TMCollaborate. My main topic this year – Solo taxonomy. (7)

3.4 Teachtweets – an innovation from #ukedchat. Presenters make pre recorded video clips which are shared and the creators are available to answer any queries. An ongoing friendship with @ICTMagic that had started at TMEssex in Feb 2012, meant I made several contributions during the year using arrange of app based clips. (8)

3.5 Edchats – I have joined in a range of these this year in New Zealand, South Africa, Oceania, USA, UK. At Easter I hosted a ukedchat and then in April alongside @aliceleung from Australia we ran #sologlobalchat. We hosted 40 educators from the UK, New Zealand and Australia for an hour on a Saturday. Alice wrote a great summary blogpost including our chat archive. (9)

4) CPD attended / developing
Most of my CPD is self generated. The following are more examples:

4.1 Education reading – I bought a number of ed. books at Easter but didn’t start reading them until the start of the summer holidays. The three I have read so far are: @HYWEL_ROBERTS Oops- since lent to a trainee at school; @arti_choke Solo book 1 (long overdue); Ron Berger – An Ethic of Excellence. I still have Full on Learning, The Lazy teacher, and some new kindle books to read too. Many of these ideas are already seen in my teaching. (10)

4.2 Day events – I attended Pedagoolondon in March and TLT13 in October. Both included a great range of workshops and I look forward to their 2014 sequels. (11)

4.3 Others – ongoing work with the UK and Ireland Promethean Advocates team. Starting an in school cross departmental pedagogy group. (12)

5) Blogging / Tweeting

Another busy year for this blog. I have submitted some posts for #Blogsync by @Edutronic_Net. Taken part in @ieshasmall ‘s Mindshackles project and tweeted… lots. Twitter has taught me so much and provides such a great supportive network that I am proud to belong to. (13)

Here ends the review aspect …

#guiltyteacher (a rhetorical post) ..update …

Well, three weeks not in school,two with a doctor’s note. Am I better? Not yet, we tried an increase in my Serotonin based meds, but mood dipped further. So this time a second doctor’s note to take me into next term and meds combination 5 of 2013. Original serotonin based dosage and a noriadrenaline based tablet. Taken for the first time today and no side effects to start with.

My depression is clearly here and I have cried myself to sleep, hugged pillows and felt my mood go up near the roof and then crash right down to earth sometimes over a few days sometimes within seconds. My first week on a doctor’s note showed signs of improvement and a good weekend! Where I managed exercise and some socialising. Then, Monday morning and crash, a week that stayed low. I feel guilty, but at present this roller coaster I am living means I can not be in front of classes.

I signed up with my Local primary trust for two courses:

– Beating The Blues, an online CBT based programme which runs for 8 weeks
– a self esteem therapy group that will also run for 8 weeks.

I am also using my mood diary most days to record thoughts. So I can review any discernible patterns. I am also accessing a range of Mindfulness podcasts from the internet to practice distraction techniques when I find myself having automatic negative thoughts. I haven’t gone beyond simple breathing/ distraction tasks and some of resulted in me falling asleep but I am managing to divert thoughts that previously may have dwelled causing me more low patches.

I continue to have daily contact with colleagues on Twitter, we have named our group the #BDamigos and keep an eye out. For each other. Offering support to others can also be a nice distraction.

So have I moved on?

Yes, I am accessing additional GP support with my meds.

I have self refered and started two mental health support strategies.

I am continuing skills learnt about from my Stress and mood management course in Sept/ October.

I get out of the house most days for at least a walk supported and often prompted by my great wife who is being a great support.

I have been ale to have more thought about working future and would like to keep teaching in some form as I love the job. But still a area to explore later.

I made phone contact with our well being Coordinator in school and was able to talk,although physically shaking throughout the conversation.

I need to be purposeful in developing my mental strength and seeing how we go. I am still not happy that my absence will cause concerns and issues for colleagues and classes but accept that I can not be there right now.

So onwards and hopefully some posts soon about mood diary, exercise for mood and mindfuless resources.

If any of this is pertinent to you, you want to comment in any way please do. Again I will promote this post in a minimal way on social media.

Thank you if you read and get this far …

Mindshackles follow up. – the post is out should take you to the final version – feedback welcomed to me or to Mindshackles.