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That was 2011……

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As 2011 ends with my family technically homeless and with me struggling to put together the CPD log required to retain my RGS(IBG) Chartered Geographer status, the timing seems right to look back over the year.  This  post is for myself and is a place for me to look back on, so I won’t be offended if you give it a miss!

As 2011 ends, I’m reminded of this post and the image below, taken near to Christmas 2004.  The event linked to this image was the watershed of my teaching career. It’s when I decided to stop playing teacher an put a little effort into it.  What a long way we’ve come since then! Looking back at the review of 2010 and some of the things I was looking forward to in 2011, I truly have no idea where the time went!

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Most of this post will follow some sort of chronological order, but I’ll start with a the highlight of the year and a thank you:

I got married in August 2011 to the long suffering, some would say widow to teaching, Kelly. The day was perfect and it was great to be with so many friends and family.  Henry, my 2 year old son, was the true star of the show though….  I know that I wouldn’t be anywhere near here at the moment without them so thank you.

Thank you to the team that I work with. Jo Debens, Alec Weaver and Sam Atkins have continued to make working at Priory something that I look forward to every single day (that aren’t the holidays….).  They continue to go along with my madcap schemes and put up with my challenging behaviour.  A big thank you also goes out to James Humphries and the Senior Leadership Team at Priory who have always been very supportive of myself and Geography, even in the face of what may seem quite demanding behaviour.  I promise to stop making trouble in 2012.

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one day he just let goI make no apologies for using a few gapingvoid.com cartoons.  Their messages speak to me.  2011 is a year in which I have continued to weigh up remaining as a classroom teacher against roles that would reduce my interaction with young people and teachers.  I haven’t made up my mind that, but then I would say that in public….. All I’ll say is that I feel ready for bigger challenges and then leave it at that Winking smile

So, let’s get on with it, I’m going to stay kind of chronological as that’s how my diary works.  I’ll also attempt to link to various posts that may be of use to others, and certainly myself.

January saw reflections on the Government’s White Paper on Education, and event that shaped most of the year including the work of the Geographical Association and it’s Secondary Phase Committee.

It was fairly quiet for a while, especially in February as a combination of Year 8’s Eco Challenge, my Brother in-law’s stag do and an epic winter climbing trip to Scotland took over.  However, there was a little time to plod toward the completion of the Leadership Pathways programme and lead / support colleagues in setting up Enquiry Days.  I was also the guest blogger at the Hodder Geography nest.

This year some would say that I’ve mainly been creating trouble.  What they mean is that this year we have really pushed co-creation, pupil action, the acceptance of mobile learning and creativity.  That all started in March and saw the development of a strong working relationship between priory geography and Creative Partnerships.  This formed the bedrock for later work that saw the creation of a Mobile Device Policy that was co-constructed with students.  Our main conclusion were shared at bMobLe and Northern Grid as well as other places.  The conclusion was that chalk is far more naughty than mobile devices Winking smile

2011 also saw the renewed importance of various networks such as Partners in Learning and our local face-to-face networkJo Debens headed to Moscow as part of Microsoft’s Innovative Teachers Forum.  I also continue to be an activist for The Geographical Association and have enjoyed heading to their conference in 2011, giving a number of sessions. I also took over the Chair of The Secondary Phase Committee and I continue to feed in to the editorial collective of the GA Magazine.   This year I decided to take a step back from the Geography Collective, but I have enjoyed seeing them go from, strength to strength and am sure I’ll return to the fold.  As a one of the founding members of the collective, this was a difficult decision, but it’s time to focus on my other plans…..

School visits form a vital and important part in Geography and it was with great pleasure that I managed to get a fairly incident free trip to Iceland arranged for pupils.  The experience seen though young people’s eyes was incredible and we plan to return in 2013.  Priory Geography continues to develop the curriculum with young people and this year became a GA Centre of Excellence.  We had a fantastic time and continued the upward trend in GCSE results, although there is still much improvement to make.  By March, we were already rocking! What I was most proud of is the commitment of every member of the team. The department has had a fantastic 2011, and I’m really itching to get going in 2012! Remember that this is still the mission:

April was just mental as I became a Dream Teacher. It must have been a strange month as I grappled with the idea of tools and boxes and tried to define what I was! Somehow, I also managed to produce this video:

In May a group of lovely people recognised this blog, naming it Teacher Blog of the Year.  Many thanks! I also managed to complete the Leadership Pathways course.

The academic year closed with the creation of a mobile device policy, something that I am very proud of. The policy wording can be found here.

I’m sure that there are a few other bits and bobs in there also.

Since September, I’ve been laying the foundations of a number of projects, more of which coming in 2012…..

See you there?

Photo Credit Danni Beach Photography

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