I’m a naturally pensive person so all this self-reflection that people do around the new year is right up my nerdy alley. I love to think back on what I’ve accomplished throughout the year and ruminate on all the things I have to be grateful for.
I can honestly say that I feel like every year in my life has been better than the year before. Not necessarily easier, or more fun. But better. I feel like I’m growing not just older, but wiser, and deepening my spirituality and relationship with God in ways that make every day feel more meaningful. That’s been the measure of success for me, and I find that this goal trickles down into every aspect of my life. It strengthens my marriage, enhances my relationships with friends and family, and keeps me focused on what really matters in my career.
2011 has been a wonderful time of growth for me professionally. I started off the year refocused on my purpose and vision, adding a ton of new free teacher resource pages to the website. I’m most excited about the Consulting and Coaching section (which will soon feature more resources for instructional coaches and teacher-preneurs) and the Technology Integration section (which focuses on the classroom management aspect of using computers in the classroom.) The site also got a new professionally-designed masthead (that’s the header image at the top) and I made some big improvements (I hope) with the site layout.
I learned a lot of lessons during the school year as an instructional technology coach. I attended lots of great professional development, including ISTE, ASCD, and my first edcamp. I’ve also conducted more professional development sessions than I ever have before, including the Global Education Conference. And probably most importantly, in 2011 I published my second book, Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching. (I’m currently holding a give-away on Facebook if you want to enter to win a free copy.) So lots of great stuff to be thankful for in the professional arena.
I thought about selecting a blog post for each month to feature here or somehow calculating which posts were most popular, but hey, it’s my time of reflection so I’m going to pick my own favorite posts. Here’s my top 5 from 2011:
- The X factor: self-controlcompares student behavior and the learning environment of two schools I worked at in the same neighborhood…and shares why I think classroom management is the perfect area in which to train students to discipline themselves. I don’t want to have to control students (is that even possible?): I want to train them to control themselves.
- Stop the tech snobberymade big waves at the ISTE conference. The idea that we can’t shame educators into using technology really resonated with people.
- Solutions when recess and play aren’t allowedwas something I wanted to share for awhile, since play-based learning and free time seem to be going the way of the dodo bird. Spoiler alert: my advice is to do it, anyway.
- Redefining the role of teacher for ourselveswas inspired by what I consider to be the most influential, important blog post of the year (written by Will Richardson.) It was a big wake-up call for me, and I shared how my thinking changed from that day forward.
- A counter-intuitive way to re-energize ourselvescould also be named “9 things that zap educator’s motivation” or “9 reasons why teachers hate professional development” or even “How PD can be energy-giving, not just energy-draining.” Teacher motivation is a subject that’s dear to my heart, and I really wanted to share thoughts on how educators can be empowered to take charge of their own professional growth.
Most of these posts were written in the second half of 2011, when I decided to start blogging twice a week (instead of whenever I felt like it, which turned out to be once or twice a month.) I learned that for me, writing is like exercising: the more often I do it, the more often I FEEL LIKE doing it. My writing muscles get weak when I’m out of practice, so I’m trying to keep them strong by using them more. I hope to continue that in 2012.
What else is in store for the new year? I’m working on a new book which I plan to publish in the spring. I have new pages I want to add to the website, a bunch of cool blog post ideas, and some printable teacher resources and videos I want to create. There are lots of ideas swimming around in my head…it’s just a matter of seeing which ones I feel led to do at which time.
I’m not making any resolutions, per se, but I am looking forward to the fresh start that comes with a new year. I want to act with more wisdom and follow my feelings less; I want to do now what I’ll be satisfied with later on instead of what feels good in the moment (which is usually lying on the couch watching TV or surfing the net.) Accomplishing this, for me, is a matter of making right choices in the moment, rather than trying to decide once and for all that I will always act in a certain way. I can’t do anything about how I acted in the past or control what I do in the future, but I can do the right thing right now, in the present. That’s my goal for 2012.
What did you accomplish in 2011 that you’re proud of? What are your goals for the new year? Share your perspective in the comments, or link to your own blog post if you’ve recently written your own year in review. I’d love to read your reflections as we bring in 2012.
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