Sunday, 31 December 2017

Finishing off 2017 looking back and facing forward.

I wasn't going to write again until the New Year but having just finished my last book of the year How to stop time by Matt Haig and done all the preparations for our New Years Eve party which doesn't start till 7pm, I find myself with a few hours to spare so here are my final thoughts of the year.

Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

Having met John McCarthy at the Practical Pedagogies conference in Toulouse in November 2016 my blogging and presenting journey really took off after he encouraged me to share what we had been talking about at the conference. I find that life is very much about the people you meet and the chances you take and this was one of them. I know that technically this is not a 2017 story but feel that this should be mentioned as my presenting and blogging journeys both started from that point in time.

Since then I have presented at 3 conferences in 2017, the British Isles Google Summit in Guernsey, CILIP SLA/YLG conference in Harrogate and the Back to School Google conference at the London headquarters. which I found both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I do however, feel that each time I present I learn something new about myself and am finding out about what does and doesn't work. Hopefully, each time I am creating something useful and better too. I have already signed up to speak at two conferences in 2018 so must not find it too scary after all.

My blog went from strength to strength this year finishing with a real high at the end of November with over 29,000 views for my post called Why do teachers need school librarians. I spent the year finding my voice for school libraries and learning how to make the most of social media. I have loved learning this new skill and it is something I will be  developing more in the coming year. I have been asked to guest blog and to write articles for professional magazines because of this blog. Opening doors I would never have believed was possible.

I have also been a mentor for a couple of years and this year decided it was time to refresh my mentor training at CILIP. During the day I began to think that I may have done enough over the last few years to do my Fellowship. I am the kind of person who, if told I can't do something, I am even more determined to do it. I asked the trainer if she thought I would be able to attempt it and instead of asking why I thought I could do it, I was asked if I had re-validated my Chartership. Admittedly I hadn't and was then told that unless I had had articles published or presented at conferences then I should not even consider it. I kept quite as this person had assumed something about me and made me feel like I had felt at school which I hate. I have actually done both these things and more so I came home and revalidated my Chartership and am now registered for Fellowship. This is something I will achieve in 2018.

So what have I learnt about myself this year? Everything I do for myself such as my blog, social media, writing articles or presenting at conferences I do because I love my job. No one pays me to do these extra things but as I enjoy what I do it does not feel like work and for that I am extremely grateful. I have also learnt that it is ok to push myself to do things I don't feel comfortable with. Speaking at conferences and blogging has helped me to continue learning, make connections, read more and really understand my own thoughts about school libraries and their impact on children and if someone says that I can't then I will do it.

This leads me to my final new thing for next year. I have set up a new online non-fiction book club for professional development for library staff #nonfbc, why, because I think we should all continue to read and learn and this will make me do it too. Lucas Maxwell wrote a blog about it which can be found here and I wrote a guest blog about it for Heart of the School which can be found here too.  If I expect the students and teachers I work with to keep learning I should be prepared to do this myself.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog this year. I will try and continue to write something once a month as this is what seems to work for me. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year and whatever happens always keep reading and learning.