That period between Christmas and New Year always feels strangely timeless, set outside the normal cycle of the year, a moment for feasting, fighting back the dark and for introspection. I have done fairly well this year at leaving work behind and an education book or blog has barely passed through my hands. However, as we prepare to head back to a new term, my mind turns to the changes I want to make to my professional practice in 2018. My teaching resolutions.
Focus on the subject
I want to spend more time this year thinking about and improving my teaching as a Geographer. A quick look through my blog posts and articles over the last couple of years show that very few were about teaching geography specifically. This is something I hope to address more this year.
I also want to spend more time improving my subject knowledge. I have always read widely about geographical topics but a lot of what I read doesn’t stay with me (I wrote about the reasons for this here – golden memories). I am stealing an idea from Amy Forrester and making my own notes on what I read – and putting into practice the advice I give my students on how to learn effectively.
One thing that struck me when reading Fergal Roche’s book “Mining for Gold” was that the great teachers he discusses, for all their eccentricities and different approaches, were very well organised. They had fixed routines and ways of doing things that worked well, minimised workload and ensured that everything got done to a high standard. My approach is often a more haphazard affair. I am going to experiment with some different ways of working and organising my day. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I tend to throw myself into things and let that thing dominate. For the last couple of years it has been all things teaching and, whilst it has been a blast, it also leaves me at risk of burn out. I love writing articles, I love visiting schools, having visitors, speaking at conferences and collaborating with other teachers on projects across the country but I think I might have to get better at saying “no” once in a while.
I love cooking, walking, reading, running and all the small pleasures in life. I need to make more space for them in my life. I know that writing about what I do helps me to do it so perhaps a more personal blog might be the way to go. Somewhere for more personal musings. One of my favourite blogs is Sussex Sedition written by the great Andrew Watson which has recently announced it’s final post. We need more writing like this to brighten up the world.
So that’s it. Work on my subject, get better organised, find a better balance and avoid burn out.
What are your professional priorities for 2018?