2019 in review

I need to state that for me 2019 is a year I would probably prefer to forget.    It is not with any great ease that I say this however some of the events of 2019 have caused much stress, upset and difficulty.   On the other hand, and trying to take a positive from the year, myself and my family have progressed beyond the issues of the opening few months of the year and hopefully learned from them.   I hope that we are stronger for them but either way, they are now in the past and it is time to progress onwards.

So, looking back to my pledges as stated at the end of 2018 (You can read these here), what have I or have I not achieved.

Family

As mentioned above, as a family it was a very challenging year.   My hope had been to spend more time together and build more opportunities for memories, etc however this didn’t happen.   Time was spent however some of it building memories that would be better forgotten.   Sadly, I am not currently comfortable going into more detail on this topic but maybe some day in the future I will share more.

It is worth noting however that we did have our eldest down between Christmas and New Year which was very nice.   As he is now in his 20’s we don’t see him as often as we would like but he does have his own life to lead so it was very nice that he took time to travel down to us for a couple of days.

We did also have our 2nd annual holiday away which was very nice and something, for a large number of years, we lacked as a family.   It is now our hope that in 2020 we do something particularly special in terms of holidays and to avoid this becoming a wish/dream only we have actually went ahead and booked significantly in advance as opposed to our usual act of last minute bookings.

Exercise, Wellbeing and Reading

2019 - COuch25K
Finally completing Couch to 5K

On the exercise front I achieved my plan for completing couch to 5K, in fact I almost completed it twice, so I am very happy I managed to get into a constructive exercise habit.  I even ended up going for a run on both Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day which is something I didn’t foresee happening at the outset of the year.   For me this was significant progress as I have never really been a sporty or fitness person.  Sadly, following recent testing, it seems my blood pressure may be higher than it should be which means I clearly need to do more on the exercise front.

books2Again, I achieved my target of reading 12 books and a number of them I very much enjoyed and think they added to both my knowledge and understanding.   My library of books is starting to look quite impressive in my eyes at least.  The one issue I have had however is that my reading has not been constant enough throughout the year, instead being made up of a number of smaller sprints through books.  This is something I want to consider next year.

And feeling happier; That was an ambitious target.   Sadly, with everything that happened at the start of the year, various stresses throughout the year and my more recent concerns I am not sure I have achieved this.   And sadder still is the fact, if there was anything important to achieve this was probably it.   I suppose the challenge becomes asking what makes me happy and do I even know what makes me happy?   Not an easy question to answer.   And from my recent reading there is also the question of whether seeking to be “happier” is actually something I should be doing or whether I should be focusing more on taking all that I can from what I have.    Possibly a little too deep and meaningful a question for so early in the calendar year but maybe something for a future blog post.

Professional development

2019 - MS BootcampI think I have developed as a professional this year on several fronts albeit I haven’t done many Udemy or other courses and haven’t picked up many certificates.   What I have done however is read and explore topics, ask questions and challenge ideas and try to get more involved in communities discussing areas which I find of interest.   I have also attended and event presented at some excellent events.

Work

Development of an IT Strategy was a key focus of a lot of the year however as the school sought to clarify and launch a vision of its own, I decided that the IT strategy take a back burner.    Discussions on mobile devices were ongoing and some progress made including starting the trialing new devices.   We have also been made progress in relation to deploying One-drive and Microsoft Teams.    If I was trying to sum up the year, I would possibly use the word “momentum” as I fell a number of projects which had been slow burning for some time gathered pace and made reasonable progress in 2019.   Clearly in the year ahead this is something I need to build upon.

Overall

A year ago, I summed up my plans for the year with one word; Balance.    Sadly, I don’t think I achieved this as early in the year events threw things so far out of kilter that it most likely wasn’t until the middle of the year that I got close to achieving any balance.   From then it has simply been a fight to catch up.

As I said at the outset, 2019 is a year I would rather forget however to forget is to lose sight of the number of valuable, albeit at time painful, lessons learned.    I need to take as much as I can from 2019, one thing helped by my keeping of a journal through large parts of the year.    Maybe reflection will be something I need to spend significant time on in 2020.

And so with this it is on to 2020, with my plans for the year ahead to be shared shortly…

 

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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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