Summary: My 2018

calendar-2763496_640And so another year comes to an end.    2018 has flown by although as I think back I realise how much has been accomplished during the year.   That said the year hasn’t been without its challenges.

In reviewing the year I am going to use the same headings I used when I created my new years resolutions and pledges a year ago.   These seem to make for a sensible framework for writing this review.

Family

During the summer of 2018 was the first time in around 10 years that myself, my wife and our youngest went on a family holiday abroad.    We have each been abroad separately for various reasons, including school trips or returning to the UK while we were living out in the UAE, however we never did these together.     Our week away in Tenerife was both enjoyable and relaxing and something which hopefully we will repeat either this year or next.   The weather was very warm and we went for daily walks, plus had a few beers as well.   The fact that the world cup was on at the same time was also a benefit as we went and watched a few games in a pub on the seafront.   It was all an opportunity to decompress, relax and reorient towards what is important.

During the year I have also spent time out on the football park with my youngest.    This has been nice in spending time together as opposed to both of us sitting on our respective computers either gaming or watching TV or doing work.    It is something I need to do more of.

Looking back on the year though, other than the holiday I don’t think we made enough time for each other as a family and this is something we will all need to consider and work to resolve in 2019.

Fitness

Fitness has long been something I have wanted to improve albeit with very little improvement being made.   I have acknowledged this lack of progress in my review of the year over the last couple of years.   This year I finally made some progress engaging in Couch to 5k.    I managed to get quite a few weeks of running in, running every 3 times per week.    I only managed to get to week 5, however managed to get to this point on multiple occasions before the winter weather and dark mornings kicked in.    In the grand scheme of things only getting to week 5 isn’t a massive achievement but considering my lack of progress over multiple years means it is a major improvement and major progress on my previous level of fitness.   Week 5 means running 3 times per week, for over a month, a level of consistency I have never previously got close to.   I hope to restart my couch to 5k efforts early in the new year as soon as the dark morning cease.

Reading

I continue to enjoy reading and 2018 was no different with me once again working my way through more than 12 books throughout the course of the year.   As before I have tried to pick books across a number of different topic areas, however continue to focus on non-fiction as opposed to fiction.    I think reading across different topics makes the experience of reading more interesting plus is more useful in that it allows me to see different viewpoints on various topics and concepts.   This year neurobiology, digital citizenship and psychology have been just a small number of topics which I have read about.   I have, as I did last year, already started filling my book shelve with my books for 2019.   Christmas marks a great opportunity to get some titles lined up for the year ahead.

Professional Development

2018 saw me complete my CRISC exam and receive certification.   This means I have now achieved CISA, CISSP and CRISC in consecutive years.    On considering my next steps I am conscious that each of these certifications will require me to redo the exam and therefore I am reluctant to take on CISM or CGEIT which are the other two certifications I might otherwise consider.

During 2018 I also started some non-certificated PD in a couple of areas including cyber security and also data analytics.   Sadly in both cases I didn’t make much progress which I suspect was largely due to the lack of a fixed exam date or something to help me maintain my motivation.    This is something I need to bear into consideration in future.

Throughout the year I also engaged in a number of smaller professional development activities relating to specific work areas or areas of personal focus.   This included spending time learning how to better use PowerBI plus learning about GDPR in preparation for the May 2018 implementation date.

Work

GDPR was a significant area of focus during 2018 and I think largely this went well.   There are obviously ongoing requirements in relation to GDPR but I think this is in hand.

It has been a very challenging year for me as Director of IT and I think these challenges will continue into 2019.   That said, if things were easy I would suggest that maybe I am not being innovative enough or seeking new solutions with sufficient vigour.     I need to try to remain more positive and focus on the fact that time often solves issues in a way that simple effort cannot, or at least cannot as easily achieve.

I also need to accept that frustrations will occur especially when dealing with the views and perspectives of others.   I need to be conscious that my “truth” may not necessarily be the truth of others and therefore I need to more appreciative of their views and their truth, and use this to help me in bringing them around to my view or to reaching a negotiated viewpoint.

From a teaching point of view I continue to work with Lower 6 students.   I need to acknowledge that my role and therefore the significant reduction in the time I spend in a classroom has meant I don’t feel things go as well as I would like.    This is something I need to work on in the year ahead, redesigning the way I approach the sessions I deliver.

Conclusion

2018 draws to a close and 2019 is almost upon us.   2018 has been a busy year and in this it has flown by.   I find myself a little bit depressed at the moment and I think that is simply the result of realising I have reached the end of the year, and realising that maybe despite being busy I haven’t achieved as much as I would have liked in the areas I would consider to have been important.   This focus on that which is important is something I will need to be more cognizant of in 2019.    It may also be related to a deflated feeling having reached the end of the year and not being quite so busy, having spent the whole year being very busy.   A lack of a to do list, lessons to do, meetings to attend, etc, leaves me feeling as if something is missing, leading me to feel a little depressed.   I need to be wary of this as life is more than just work, blogging, etc, and sometimes you need to stop and simply enjoy the scenery.

I also think I need to be more conscious of my own feelings and of how to manage these.   The cold wet winter combined with the dark days seem to have made me feel down during the opening months of 2018 when looking back on my journal, and as we again are in winter the same appears to be occurring now, and therefore is likely to continue into the start of 2019.   I need to find a way to manage this in myself possibly through treating myself or finding another way to lift my spirits.

So 2018 is almost finished.   Bring on 2019.   Let me wish you all the very best for 2019.

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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