There are lots of benefits to blogging. It is nice if it brings some recognition of your work, it is more important if it proves helpful to others. Yet I suspect for me, there is another benefit which is that if I did not blog, I might have to actually pay money to go through this with a counsellor. So welcome to my end of year therapy session. Feel free to listen in.
Chris, you have had a challenging year with many ups and downs. The fact that as you left work for the last time before Christmas, you slipped and fell on your backside was actually quite symbolic. As was the fact that you got up again.
It has been a year of goodbyes and endings to some long running themes in your life. You have relinquished your exam board responsibilities and this may be a permanent move. You are taking a break from heavy involvement in church life for a few months. Some relationships and friendships also seem to have come to a natural end.
Yet every end is also a beginning. There have been new opportunities this year that you could not have foreseen. You have a genuinely interesting new cross college role that offers the opportunity to work on areas that are close to your heart – assessment and technology. You have had work published again via @ukedchat magazine and there are other writing opportunities that could be explored. You have also begun to network well with colleagues across the city and further afield. Despite anomalous A level results on one paper – your worst in 12 years – the RS & Philosophy department is generally healthy and moving forward.
You have also shown integrity in how you have faced up to the challenges that the year has brought both inside and outside of work – personal, professional, spiritual and financial. There have been many temptations to point the finger of blame, say in public things that were told in confidence, to cover up mistakes, to say what is popular or easy rather than what is more likely to be true. You are not perfect and are not always above temptation, but by and large you have behaved with integrity even when there has been a cost financially and to your reputation.
Chris, you are blessed. You have a wonderful family who support you regardless of the long hours you spend at work and the evenings or weekends when you are in another room hunched over a laptop. Yet they will need you more in the coming year. The raising of children, particularly a child with a disability, is not something that can be delegated. You could try leaving work early just one night each week.
You also need to get a life. You seem to have lost touch with some friends and you rarely socialise. Your guitar has not been played for several months. I know you are an introvert but frankly that is an excuse! You need to think about what you can do to give yourself a break from work. Yes, I’m pleased that you still find some time to read. You are learning and growing from the things you read. Keep growing! But you must make sure you find time for prayer and reflection. These are crucial to your well-being.
There are many critics in education. Filter their words wisely so that you learn from what is helpful and spit out what is untrue. Above all, guard your energy and confidence. Both are vital to success at work and in life itself.