Looking Back – 2014

This was an amazing year. There are some personal things I would be foolish to attempt to rank (“Got Married,” “First Child,” “Twins Born”), but professionally, it’s an easy call:

2014 is near the top of the heap.

When I think about last year from a teaching-speaking-learning point of view, I’m instantly filled with thankfulness. Here’s a short (and necessarily incomplete) list of the reasons why:

  • My wife – Not only does this spectacularly amazing woman take care of our four kiddos while I’m at work, but she shares in my delight at the growth opportunities I’ve found through blogging, writing lessons, and speaking.
  • Twitter, or rather, the people on Twitter – When I joined Twitter almost two years ago, I was like a kid in a candy story. “So much amazing! I want everything!” While the newness has worn off, its impact on my professional world has only grown. And I think it’s because the connections I’ve made in this amazing online space have become increasing personal. I feel as if quite a few of my Twitter-based relationships have grown into genuine friendships. I’m particularly thankful for the kind words and steady support I’ve received from Robert Kaplinsky this year as I work to improve and expand my speaking and presenting.
  • CMC South, CMC North – After a two year hiatus from all-things conference related, I was thrilled to be back in the mix. Especially since this was my first round of conferences since I joined the MTBoS. Connecting with Twitter friends in real life for the first time was a treat. And I had more fun presenting than in all my previous experiences.
  • Mike Chamberlain and the SJVMP – I gave my first keynote address in October (a longer version of my Ignite talk from CMC North). I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to speak in such a format, and also for how much I learned while preparing for that talk.
  • Blog readers – In my eyes, the practice of reflective blogging is worth it—a hundred times over—regardless of whether anyone else reads what I share here. The fact that a handful of real human beings point their browsers to reasonandwonder.com on occasion is both thrilling and humbling. Thanks for whiling away the minutes (or hours) with me here.
  • My school – This marks the midpoint of Year 11 for me at Fresno Christian Schools. I can’t imagine a better place to ply my trade.
  • My position – This year I have hybrid teacher/admin role. I’m thankful for two periods a day in the classroom, and also for the opportunity to build some things school-wide related to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and technology.
  • My colleagues – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a harder working group of teachers. In the off chance that one of you is reading… It’s a pleasure laboring alongside you!
  • My students – As far as being an educator goes, there’s nothing better in my book than hanging out in a room of 20 to 30 students, exploring mathematics day after day. I’m thankful for my students, their attitudes, their willingness to explore with me, and their patience when I try new things and fail.
  • My (new) superintendent – My previous superintendent held her position for about six years. I had a great relationship with her, and she increasingly gave me more and more responsibility at the school. I was nervous about the transition to a new school leader, but needlessly so. My new superintendent is equally supporting, encouraging, and challenging (in the sense that he wants me to grow personally, to grow professionally, and to help in casting a big vision for the future of the school).

There are literally dozens more I could thank, but I’m not sure I’d ever get to “publish” if I listed each person, group, or experience individually. So for those not named above who had a impact on my 2014… Thank you!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 holds!

What are you most thankful for in 2014? What are you most excited about for 2015?

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