Looking back at the last 10 years while in bed in severe pain since before Christmas is hard… but maybe it is actually easier as we appreciate perhaps more the things that really matter.
My boys became teenagers and my eldest is preparing for university. I love them both so much and am really proud to be their mum. They are so sweet, caring and have such a warm brotherly relationship. I don’t know how life would have been without them and my dear husband who has been equally caring and selflessly supported us all and still does with great generosity.
Ten years ago we left Geordieland behind and moved to the North-West for a job at Salford Uni, I thought I wouldn’t get. I still miss my friends in the North-East and the old guys at the allotments, our chats, sharing seeds, plants, advice and produce. The job at Salford Uni was my first permanent job in academic development. The idea to become an academic developer was not mine. A teacher trainer at Gateshead College, where I was teaching Greek and Cookery at the time in the community and completed the PGCert in PCET with Sunderland University shared this vision with me. She had seen something in me that made me a suitable candidate, I guess. With my degree in translation, teaching German and Greek, an incomplete PhD in translating children’s literature, and two little boys, you can imagine, I had to work hard to upskill myself… but I was ready to make this commitment as it gave me a new focus, direction and hope.
In the last 10 years, I have worked with many colleagues and students and spread the bug that obsessed me, in a nice way, many years ago. Yes, the bug for open creativity, everyday creativity in learning and teaching and probably more widely. I have taken risks, experimented and played with ideas to make learning and teaching more stimulating, more empowering. For staff and students. On zero budget. Being resourceful and bringing people together to achieve something bigger that matters to all of us, has been my fuel. I still do and I love it. I have seen the power of genuine caring relationships and how they foster collaboration, individual and collective growth and a sense of togetherness, community. We often talk about community but do we really know how it feels like? In academia the focus is far too often on self, competition can be toxic and lead to nothing good. It can actually ruin everything. All my work has been with others as it has always given me joy to share and be with others who have similar values and beliefs.
I have been learning along the way and made many mistakes. This last decade has been no different in this respect. The more we do, the more mistakes we make. We (can) also cause turbulence. This is normal. I have tried to learn from my mistakes, personal and professional ones, grow a tiny bit and help others grow. I have used the last 10 years to study more, a lot more, and I am again or still a student. I always loved learning. I guess this helps me feeling young(er) too…
Looking back and remembering all the people who have inspired and helped me in the last decade, personally and professionally, also collaborators and friends and my three boys who have been there in good and bad times, I would like to say a big thank you to you all.
Just hope this pain will leave me for good…
Happy New Decade!