Foreshadowing #Nurture 1415

Reading all the Nurture1415 posts has been a really lovely start to the New Year. In general I’m not a fan of resolutions etc. but these posts felt different; an opportunity for people to put last year into some kind of perspective and make some plans for the year to come. I’ve been developing my own blog as part of a course I started in October, MEd Artist Teacher. It’s main purpose is to act as a reflective sketchbook to share with my tutor, and up until now that has been it. However on reading all the blogs I thought I might try sharing ciarasmakery further, so here goes.

Reflections on 2014

1. Learning.
After lots of thought and debate I applied for MEd Artist Teacher Course. Wanting a focus for further study, I looked at lots of options most focusing on developing educational research or professional enquiry and these options all appealed to the teacher in me. But I kept returning to the Artist Teacher course… after some sage advice to ‘do what makes you happy’ I went for it. It is challenging trying to re-engage with my arts practice, finding time of course is an issue but so is ensuring that is is for me, not part of a school idea. I am really enjoying it so far.

2. Get Outdoors.
Gaining Professional Recognition in Outdoor Learning was a lovely culmination of an engaging and enjoyable year long course. The format of working with your class then sharing your practice with others at regular meet ups worked well and pushed you to make sure you got outside with your class as often as possible. Keeping a journal was a great way to capture my thought process and experiences.

3. P1-7 Challenge.
Last year was my first year of teaching a composite P1-7 class. While the majority of my teaching experience has been with multi-composite classes the spectre of a P1-7 loomed large and I was anxious about ensuring that all the pupils had the learning experiences they deserved.
It was a full on year, I have learned a lot and together we made it a year to remember! We developed our own way of working together as a team and had a lot of fun along the way. We had many highlights but one of the best was watching our film Africa on the big screen at our local cinema. You can check it out here—Inspiring-innovation it’s been uploaded in 2 parts. In June we had to say a tearful goodbye to our fabulous P7s but of course in August we got to welcome our energetic, enthusiastic P1s to the team. You can keep up to date on our adventures so far @grandtullyps

4. Work/Life balance.
As with most teachers my work/life balance is an issue. Over the past few years I have been telling myself that it is improving, that I am making more time for myself and my family, sometimes it has been true, but mostly not. Last year I made a real effort to focus on my family life. I planned certain days where we would walk or run with our lovely wee dog after school and (on the whole) stuck to this. I tried to keep most of my work in school…with varying degrees of success. Weekends were planned around walks and days out, not school prep. I am definitely getting better at making time for home and I hope to continue down a more ‘balanced’ path in 2015.

5. Pedagoo.
I have been following Pedagoo for a couple of years now and try to take part in #PedagooFriday as often as possible. I had enjoyed reading about other practice and seeing what others had been researching etc. but until last year I hadn’t really felt involved in the community. In June I decided to hop on the train and head to #Pedagooglasgow. I didn’t know anyone going, or what to expect really but I was excited to take part in the workshops. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year. Being surrounded by a supportive, enthusiastic, engaged, inspiring group of educators really changed how I was thinking and gave me a much needed boost at the end of a demanding school year. Attending the Learning Festival at Preston Lodge later in the year built on my first pedagoo experience and was another inspiring event, I’m looking forward to Pedagoo Primary in 2015.

Looking ahead

1. Connecting.
We love living in Perthshire, but every so often it’s nice to connect with your past, hear the familiar tones of the Norn Iron accent and eat some Tayto crisps and decent soda farls. We are planning a wee trip over to ‘the province’ at Easter and are looking forward to meeting up with good friends and family and enjoying the great new bars and restaurants that seem to have sprouted since we left!

2. Art making.
I have been dabbling with bits and pieces as you can see on the blog, I am hoping that I will really get into my stride in 2015. I have also signed up for sketchbook circle so that’s quite exciting.

3. P1-7.
We have made a good start to our year and really enjoyed learning all about the past last term. This coming year holds lots of potential and I am really looking forward to exploring the many learning opportunities that come our way.

4. Pedagoo.
AS mentionner above attending the events really changed how I felt about Pedagoo, I felt involved and included, part of an exciting community. I’m looking forward to attending PedagooPrimary and possibly trying to make my blog more of a public thing!

5. Exploring
We love exploring where we live, our spaniel is a key part of that and encourages us to get out and about as much as we can. I hope that 2015 is full of adventures, preferably with a flask, you can’t beat a flask of tea!


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