Thoughts on education and science in the news and in schools. Seen from the other side of the classroom wall.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
In the nick of time, I've reread last years nurture 13/14 post. Quite a lot has changed in the past year although I still have the same number of close relatives that I did this time last year. That might not sound much of an achievement, but sadly, it is.
So, on a cheerier note, what are my five four things from the past year that are achievements/things I'm pleased about.
reduced considerably since July when I started a new job based much closer to
home.My commute is now 1/2 hour each
way, rather than 2 1/2 hour each way.I
don't miss the travelling, but I am coming to realise that I miss my morning
thinking time.I used to spend an hour
thinking and reading on the train to York on work days.This meant that I could guarantee time for
reading policy documents, blogs, research papers etc.My shorter commute means that I don't have
that luxury. Although I have tried to block in time to my work day to do
reading, so far it has been squeezed out each week.
than) full time
Since July I
have been working full-time.It was,
very definitely, a shock to the system, and I do miss the flexibility that part-time
work gave me.
particularly miss the time I spent on my freelance work.The long-term nature of these means that some
of my previous projects are still ongoing, and I'm spending all my 'free-time'
working (including much of this Christmas holiday).
I am now
turning freelance work down (which I do struggle with), and some of the other
work is coming to an end, so things should get easier.
On the plus
side, I will get my name on two books next year!
stepped into a management role with my new job, and it has been a shock.Before I started, I must confess that I was
looking forward to being 'the boss'.I
rapidly learned that actually my delusions of power were just that.And that there is a lot more managing upwards
needed than I realised. I'm getting there, but there were points in the last 6
months when I wondered if I'd done the right thing.
I also attend
a lot of meetings.Setting up Think
Physics means that we've had to start building relationships internally at the
university as well as externally with schools and other organisations. And that
means meetings.On average, 3 or 4 a day
over the last 6 months.Thankfully, for
someone who is an introvert at heart, I can do functional extrovert reasonably
April, Northumbria University advertised a series of posts for a new project
called 'Think Physics'. It sounded interesting (albeit a little vague) and so I
applied for the role of Director (and secondary specialist).The project brings together lots of my
previous experience - working with teachers, working in schools and
physics.It's a fabulous (if huge)
project and has the potential to do really good things with schools in the NE .Possibly the best bit though, is the team I
work with. My boss has assembled a fantastic group of lovely people. We are all
very different with a huge range of slightly overlapping areas of expertise -
but they're all fab.To be honest, I'm
missing seeing them over the holiday it's that much fun working with them.
has had a slow start (e.g. 3 months to get a logo), but we're now getting things running and the diary is filling up.One of the challenges will be to work out how we can make animpact in the schools.We want to do more than just 'wow, physics'
activities (though we will do those too).We are building on the IOP
work about girls in physics, as well as the ASPIRES project findings about
attitudes to 'doing science' in young people.We know that it's really important to embed careers ideas into the work
we are doing, and show that science (especially physics) is a springboard to
interesting things.And we've got just
under 3 years to do it!
And a peek into the year ahead...
As with my
nurture post last year, looking too closely at the year ahead is scary. My
diary is, once again, already filling up. However, there are a few things I'd like to
I need one.
Not taking on too much additional freelance work will help. However,
controlling the amount of time I spend on electronic devices will also be a
plus.It's too easy to sit down 'just
for five minutes' to check twitter/Facebook only to find that 2 hours have gone
and it's bedtime.This means that I get
far less reading/crafting done than I would like.Some discipline will be required in the new year.
I also want to increase the amount of exercise that I do. Working every evening (when I'm not on a device) means that I'm not do as much as I used to, and my weight and fitness are showing the damage.
I want to
continue to blog and hopefully do some more formal writing too.Seeing my name in print is just fabulous, and
I'd like to do more of that.
I need to
figure out how to spend time well at work so that there is a good balance between
the management aspects of my role and the secondary specialist bit.At the moment it is heavily biased to the
former and I'd like it to be a bit more evenly spread.
plans (as part of work) to carry out research into practical work in science
(see previous blog post). Whilst the focus has, of necessity, changed slightly
I still want to get this done and into print.