Nurture 16/17


So, it’s that time of year again, when we all like to look back on the year that has passed, and look forward to the new one that is coming. At these moments, I’m always reminded of a line from the song New Year’s Day by U2 – “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day”. Although the song is actually about the Polish Solidarity movement, as a child I always interpreted it as being about the fact that nothing really changes when we go from 31st December in one year to 1st January in the next. All those resolutions we make could be made on any day of the year. Waiting for New Year’s Eve to make changes to our lives is neat in its symbolism but changes are probably better done on a day by day basis. Anyway, re-reading my Nurture 15/16 blog, I was happy to see that I was extremely realistic, that I only set myself three targets for 2016, and that I managed to achieve them all.

1. Travel a lot.

2. Finish Road School.

3. Do something amazing to celebrate my *beep*-ieth birthday.

Starting with No.2, I’m delighted to say that Road School is now a reality. Although it is nothing like any of my other books, I’m really proud of it. Perhaps the most special thing for me was having my own kid choose to read the book on the plane back from our Christmas holiday, and pointing out to me all the bits in it that made her laugh. No.1 and No.3 basically got combined into a year of travelling extensively. We went to Amsterdam and Lisbon with friends to see bands (Muse in Amsterdam and Queen at Rock in Rio in Lisbon). We stayed on a houseboat in Amsterdam, which is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was tiny, and we got to show our friends around Lisbon, including taking them to see the flat where we used to live. We went to Portugal another two times (once in the summer and once for Christmas). And at Easter, after endless hours of discussion, debate and close examination of our finances, our family went to Chile for 3 weeks. We spent the first two weeks touring the south of the country, which is an amazing landscape of live volcanoes, glaciers, deep lakes, ancient mythologies and mystical islands. And after that we went to Easter Island. To say this was a thrill would be putting it mildly.

I’m going to stick to the 3 targets format for 2017, since it seems to be working well for me. Some might accuse me of the soft bigotry of low aspirations, but at my age, I have grown to know my limits.

1. Publish and write more books. (This is kind of inevitable as a target, if you make your living as a writer.) My next book The Artful Educator is pretty much done and dusted, with just the final edits to complete. The book a bit of a reaction to the current narrative of teaching as a science, and of there being only one ‘right way’ to do things. It is full of crazy and creative ideas for artistic approaches to teaching. I’m also writing a book on differentiation for Bloomsbury and a book on behaviour in the early years for John Catt.

2. Keep travelling as much as possible. We’ll make the usual trips to Portugal as often as the school holidays allow, but I am also hoping to fit in a trip to Iceland, and there has been vague talk of a journey across America to see the solar eclipse next summer. Fingers crossed. I’ve offered the youngest kid the option of doing SATs or not doing SATs, according to how she feels in May. If she decides on the ‘not doing SATs’ option, I plan to head somewhere exciting with her.

3. Write a novel. I’ve always wanted to do this. In fact, I’ve completed a couple of drafts of novels in the past, but I have never had the courage to push through to complete them or send them off to agents/publishers. If I’m going to be the female Lee Child, I need to stop talking about it and get on with it and do it. And now I’ve written it here, I’ll have to put my money where my mouth is. Watch this space, and I hope you all have a great 2017!

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