2018 was a funny old year.
I finished 2017 and moved into 2018 as a Dr rather than a Mrs and that was quite a big change. I graduated my PhD and was picked up at the University of Bath Winter Ceremony as quite an out-of-the-ordinary Phd-er. I did it quickly and worked all the way through. This was picked up by a few newspapers in the local area. For me a significant reason that I undertook my PhD in the first place was so that I could develop my academic knowledge of special educational needs policy and practice alongside pursuing related professional experiences. I did that and continue to do so, so that I can use that knowledge to help advise schools and individuals, aiming to forge a path for myself into some sort of third sector working.
I can honestly say, that for a significant proportion of 2018, I have been able to start along that pathway. I’ve had articles published by the Chartered College of Teaching, the Little Things Magazine and I’ve a few more in the pipeline. I’ve presented at an international conference in Wales (something I didn’t imagine happening at all). I am volunteering at a local primary school and I am a member of their Academy Council, advising on SEND practice. I was asked to be on TV to discuss the relationship between state and private schools just 2 weeks ago. I have had such unequivocal confirmation from all of these experiences that blazing my own trail is the way for me to go; I am a creature that likes flexibility and to be able to do my own thing. This last calendar year, I have been incredibly lucky with the opportunities that have come my way and I’m glad that I’m in a position to be able to grab them by the short and curlies and go head on into some exciting new areas!
All of these different experiences are things that I’d never have seen myself undertaking at the start of 2018. I was working full time as Head of Learning Support and SenCo at a small independent school near Bath but after thinking hard about how I wanted to move on with my career pathway, I decided that I would branch out, drop down to part time teaching in a state school and start blazing my trail. I have not looked back since. I am doing everything I said I would do this time last year and am so lucky to have come this far relatively unscathed!
I’m not quite sure what 2019 will bring, but if it’s anything like 2018, it’ll be bonkers, challenging and utterly unexpected, mixed in with a shedload of hard work and graft.
And that’s the way I like it!