My personal life has been dominated by the arrival of my first child, Tommy. He arrived in October, but we had spent from mid-January knowing he was on his way... this explains why I was not last man standing (with Stephen Lockyer) at the pub after #TMBett15. 'Life changing' seems totally inadequate, and is so often the case, there are others who can better explain fatherhood, it's joys and it's fears; check out: <this> [FB link] and <this>.
Already it's changed my outlook to work. I can't do as many TeachMeets, nor writing commitments for example (unless they pay - that's different, as babies are not cheap!). I also need to shift my working day... sometimes I can get in early and get some tasks completed, on other days Tommy is already up and so I go in later. I try to leave by 4pm at the latest (we thankfully live 5 minutes drive from school), or I get very little time with Tommy. This sometimes means getting everything sorted and sitting down at 9/10pm to start work. Family time is really, really important and compromises must be made, and stuck to, to balance work.
We are only 3 months in, and only time will tell how things pan out. I may not be blogging as much, tweeting as much, attending Carl's 'salons' or Andrew's curries... but I am still here! Priorities have just changed.
- Head of Year - Surviving my first year as HoY 10 and already one term of HoY 11. It's been incredibly hard work, but a lot of fun. I think every member of senior management should have a shot at pastoral leadership to understand exactly what the job demands; it helps. Read more <here>.
- Blogger Curries & Salons - Andrew and Carl have facilitated various socials around London. It's good to put faces to avatars and realise that the education world is a friendly and supportive one... looking outside your school, having your ideas challenged over a pint or popadom is always a pleasure. There are many in the edu-Twitter/Blogger world who I genuinely consider friends. Some sent cards and gifts when Tommy was born; that's not just someone you 'follow'. Oh and Leeds after #NRocks15... that was a lot of fun with the Staffrm gang!
- The London RE Hub Conference 2015 - Somehow I organised (with the help of a truly amazing team), and seemingly pulled off, a pretty impressive conference in London for over 100 delegates. We did something that no-one else was doing, focusing on subject knowledge in RE and ensured a lasting legacy through the use of digital media. See what we did <here>.
- The RE Echo Chamber - After trying to get more RE teachers blogging rather than just arguing on Save RE, with the help of Andrew, this place was born. I try to organise monthly #BlogSyncRE topics (when time allows). It seems like a success so far; there has been some great writing and reflection about RE... and boy is it needed! See <here>
- TM London 2015 - It was great to be part of the a team that put on possibly London's biggest (non-fringe) TeachMeet event. It was informative, fun and a great success. Read about it <here>. I've not been able to get any TM Havering events off the ground (looking for help if anyone is keen to take over?), so this was my curer.
- "Catholic Stuff" - There is so much to mention here. Being asked to write a GCSE textbook, working with the CES, speaking at Porta Fidei (a national conference on Catholic education), looking at projects with St Mary's. It has been such a privilege and an honour.
Plus on top of this I got to speak at, and attend, various TeachMeets, conferences and events, write guest blogs plus upset the RE world on Twitter and Save RE, work nationally on the future of RE with Culham St Gabriel's plus much more (most of my presentations are <here>). Thank you to each and every person who gave me opportunities to become a better teacher. Thank you also to those who follow me on Twitter and read my blogs. It means a lot.
Looking Forward to 2016 (again, in no particular order)
- Textbook Publication - Writing a textbook for OUP over the last 6 months+ has been hard work, yet brilliant. We've already had over 30 schools order our book. If you are considering studying Edexcel GCSE Catholic Christianity, please check it out <here>. The moment I hold this book, will be one of overwhelming joy, especially knowing the influence it will have on the classroom - where it matters most!
- The Queen's Garden Party - I have been invited to attend one of the Queen's Summer Garden Parties by the DfE, via the CES, for my contributions to Catholic Education. I am genuinely amazed and overwhelmed by this. Being recognised in this way feels like one of the highest accolades possible... plus tea and cake are involved!
- CatholicResource.co.uk - Having now taught myself to build websites through WordPress, an all new, far more professional site is in the pipe line, hopefully with some HEI support. It's focus will be supporting teachers for the new GCSE and A-Level but there are some far grander plans for the future! Watch this space (and join the mailing list <here>).
- The London RE Hub Conference 2016 - April will see the second major conference organised by this project, focusing on the needs of secondary teachers for the new GCSE. Having people repeatedly ask when it is happening and when can they buy tickets is quite amazing. Info will go up <here> as soon as it can be announced.
- TM London 2016 - Few people could do "bigger and better" than last time. However, if anyone can, it's probably Ross. I'm not sure what my role will be, but free, teacher-lead CPD has given me so much, it is nice to give something back.
- TeachFirst RE Conference, St Alban's #RE - Am I Bothered? Conference..? - Continuing to be asked to speak, lead and present at various teaching and RE events never gets tiresome. I am glad people think I have something worth sharing. Thank you again for continuing to ask me!
2016 is already shaping up to be an amazing year with babies on the way (not us just yet!), weddings, family holidays, Thank you to Emily for putting up with me and all my 'teacher stuff', and I am determined to be not only the best teacher I can be, but the best husband and dad to Tommy too.
Photos taken by: kirstenmavric.co.uk