Five months ago I took the decision to go on semi-digital leave and suspend some of my online activities such as blogging. This also meant that my use of social networking systems such as Twitter was more sporadic and incoherent. This was a difficult decision but it was necessary as my workload had reached epic proportions and something literally ‘had to give.’
I started the year being enthusiastically optimistic about the challenges of the coming year. However, over the past eight months I have become more aware and more sympathetic for the need for a work/life balance. The need for me to take digital leave rises out of many projects that I have been, either completely immersed in, or that were ‘simmering’ in the background. Over the past eight months I have been:
I have my amazing teaching assistants Sylvia and Elaine to thank for helping me in this area.
Working on my MA thesis
This explored the ways that classroom blogs link to New Literacy Studies and Multiliteracies. I have found writing my thesis and teaching full-time an exceptionally challenging process. The demands of the job mean that sitting down to write after a very tiresome day is not a welcoming prospect. This means that the majority of my school holidays and weekends have been devoted to writing. I have my tutors Julia Davies and Becky Parry to thank for all of their support during this process.
Coordinating Creative Learning
I have been coordinating Creative Learning in my school from Nursery to Year 6. This has included setting up work with a graphic designer to publish a whole-school book, video editor to create a video reflection, environmental educator to work across the school, web designers to set up our whole school blog as well as organising a celebration event at the end of term. I’m really grateful to people like e-gran and Mike Mcgrother who have been so professional and helpful in making this process so much easier and enjoyable.
I have written two book chapters - one for a Student Voice Handbook (published in September) and the other for a Virtual Worlds publication.
I was a guest lecturer at Birmingham City University in January. I also spoke at two conferences this year – the Northern Grid Conference and the UKLA International Conference in Chester (where I spoke twice)!
I have also been dealing with the stress of renovating a house. Thankfully my parents have been a huge help with this.
Yesterday I submitted my MA dissertation, which to me represented the end of my digital leave and a return to a more relaxed way of life. I’m really looking forward to getting back into blogging, Twitter and exploring new things such as Google+. It might take me a few weeks to get back into it but I will return!
I’m really excited to be travelling to the University of Tasmania to speak at the New Literacies, Digital Media and Classroom Teaching Conference convened by Angela Thomas at the end of the month. I’m going to be flying to Australia a week earlier and will be spending a relaxing week in Melbourne.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has offered help and support over the past months!