At this time of year, busy bloggers typically compile their top ten lists of <insert topic here> , reminisce about the highlights and lowlights of the year gone by, and solidify in writing their resolutions to yield a more fruitful life in the coming year. I’ve read several blog posts this week that open with those sentiments, so I guess all of the cool kids are doing it. Here’s my attempt.
2012 was a keeper. I can say that I chose to make family and friends a priority and put my professional growth and participation in connected learning on the back burner. In March, when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, as cliche as it sounds, it changed everything. Suddenly every day my thoughts were consumed with the child who would be joining our family in the fall, and, add to that the sheer exhaustion and demands on the body and mind that pregnancy brings, I had little desire to read, reflect, write, converse, and publish. I definitely dropped out of the conversations. My “in-person” learning experiences this year were plentiful, including the opportunity to present at Educon, attend ASCD, Pete & C, and two edcamps, present to a local school district about connected leadership, participate in PLP Live, and share various webinars for TLC, not to mention all of the development obtained through my principal’s role. Despite that involvement, I was distracted at best.
And honestly? I grew tired of the redundancy in my social networking circles. I felt as though most blog posts I read, conference sessions I attended, tweets that streamed by…. more of the same.
That’s probably not fair, because I know there are numerous educators that exist in a professional vacuum where they have no desire to connect globally with other educators or enhance learning opportunities for their students. As a result, there are schools where administrators and teachers continue to tread along the road of complacency, focusing their sights on improved standardized test scores and neglecting the needs of the whole child. They’re implementing rigid, “rigorous” curricula and Common Core and I-can’t-address-your-questions-right-now-Sam-it-doesnt-fit-the-objective lessons in traditional settings, very teacher-driven and uninspired.
I also can’t criticize the flow of information coming my way- if I do nothing to change up the blogs I read or the communities with whom I interact and how I engage with them, “more of the same” is what I should expect.
Then at some point I took a step back. I examined the redundant conversations and realized that even though the topics remained the same, new voices emerged. For those of us who have been cultivating professional relationships online for the past few years, we can’t forget that every day there are hundreds of educators being newly introduced to Twitter as a learning tool, or beginning to understand the power of blogging or infusing project-based learning opportunities into their classrooms, recognizing the need to challenge the status quo and empowering students each day.
They’re beginning a journey.
I have never been one for resolutions. I lack the self discipline. My husband sets resolutions every year, and he keeps them. He went for a run every day for three straight years. The reason I don’t set black and white goals such as this is because I don’t want to feel sorry for myself when I fail. I tried Project 365 last year and while I never came out and made it an official “resolution,” I did hope to make it past March. I didn’t. (This year, I will succeed in taking at least one photo per day, because I have the cutest subject ever to capture. #tooeasy)
I’ve been familiar with the one little word challenge for the past several years, as a scrapbooker I was always inspired by Ali Edwards and her project approach to this commitment, and recently I read a post by Jeff Delp who explained how he would incorporate his one word, Today, into his life this year.
For me, that word is Beginnings.
First, the obvious. My son‘s life is just beginning. I want to make sure I help make his life the most wonderful life it can be. He has already changed me and my family for the better, a thousandfold. Parenthood is no joke. I’ve worked harder the past two months than I ever have before, but this work yields indescribable rewards.
I will begin to clean out the cobwebs. I have a lot going on with the way I interact with, organize, and share information. I will begin to scale back, prioritize, make better sense and use of it all, and be a more dedicated learner. This may mean I learn more privately. So be it.
I will begin to seek opportunities to do work that I love.
I will begin to write more consistently. Some work will be published. Some will not. I was in awe of Jonathan Martin’s 2012 blogging summary post where he highlighted his work and set goals for the coming year. I have nowhere near the readership that Jonathan does (nor the talent), but curious about my blogging history, I clicked on my Archives menu, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this.
Of course, I know I’ve been blogging since 2009. But to see the many months’ work that I’ve put into this space… it really made me want to write more. My writing won’t necessarily be shared in this space, due to my hiatus from the principalship, but I will write more in 2013.
I will begin to get back to creating. In years past, I spent hours of my free time with creative, crafty endeavors. I miss it.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
As 2013 is a year of beginnings for me, it may also be a year of endings. I need to ensure that those things that add little or no meaning to my life are the first things to end. That will require a lot of self-assessment and prioritizing. I will mess up repeatedly. I’ll waste time doing things that don’t matter. I’ll be lazy. I’ll get scared and be intimidated.
But I’ll also be inspired. I’ll love and laugh and live. I’ll create and smile and smother my son with kisses.
And when I mess up, I’ll dust myself off, forgive, and begin again.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2013 to you all!