One of my favorite things is a question I learned to ask little kids long ago. Rather than ask, “What are you doing?”, I ask, “What are you learning?” My husband and I do this often, and it’s a nice reminder to keep social media and other internet rabbit holes at bay, since “What are you learning?” deserves a better answer than “how to gift-wrap a cat for Christmas.”
So as we look back at 2014, here’s a list of what I learned this year. Some are serious; some aren’t. Thanks for reading and best wishes for a healthy, happy 2015!
- Teaching is hard. I knew this before, but I learned it again, just as I learn it every year. My French class was draining and rewarding in equal measure. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m proud that I helped eleven kids who thought they couldn’t succeed in a foreign language class find their voices and play to their own strengths.
- Transformative education takes many forms in the hands of many teachers. One of the joys of my work is that I get to spend a lot of time observing teachers at work, and I’ve been inspired by the sensitivity, joy, innovation, and energy I’ve seen on the two campuses I occupied in 2014.
- Subtext and Lightsail are amazing, other apps are great too. Graphite has proven to be an extraordinary tool for teachers across the country, and I’ve been proud to write more than 80 reviews this year on apps, games, and websites that teachers can use in their classrooms. The team behind Graphite are smart and dedicated, and I know it will become even better in the years ahead.
- Managing your social media diet matters. After reading The Distraction Addiction, I got a lot more mindful about my own “email apnea” and got better about obsessively checking Facebook and Twitter all the time. I’ve trimmed my friends and following lists to give myself a more positive (on Facebook) and more professional (on Twitter) newsfeed, and it’s made a difference in my outlook and in the way I use both social networks. I also loved this video, which was a great reminder about how important it is to connect in person, face to face.
- You can apparently book a cross-country move with a national moving company less than ten days in advance. I don’t recommend this, but I’m grateful that it turned out to be possible.
- Serial was great. Podcasts are great. This American Life is slowly taking over the world and it makes me very, very happy.
- Moving far away is always a new beginning. I’ve learned this in my several moves over the course of my young life, but I’m always grateful for the warmth of the new people I meet and the constant support of the friends I’ve left behind. I’m lucky to have found wonderful friends in my new home and to have so many wonderful friends around th world. Thanks for being you.