By Deborah Netolicky @debsnet
I teach and lead in a school, and write and present in my ‘spare’ time. As I reflect on 2018, I know I did plenty. For instance, I hosted incredible leaders and scholars at my school to speak to our current, emerging and aspiring leaders. I formally and informally coached leaders from within and outside of my school. I challenged conference organisers about the diversity of their panels and keynotes, and who it is that they are inviting, paying, or asking to speak for free. I queried my own citation practices and thought about how who I cite draws attention to some voices over others.
Two of my passion projects are examples of my advocacy for women; as co-editor of the recently-published book Flip the System Australia: What matters in education, we ensured that more than half of the chapters were contributed to by women authors, and I am co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Educational Administration and History in which we offer female-authored papers on re-imagining school leadership. In 2018, some of my favourite publications—such as this chapter on metaphors for women in academia and this paper on women’s collaborative practices on social media—involved collaborations with amazing women educators and scholars, from whom I continue to learn so much. In these ways, and through my own academic writing and online sharing, I have become braver in my own voice and in what I am willing to say out loud.
In 2018, perhaps the best thing I did was to reassess how I was spending my time, and to stop doing some things. A year ago, I thought hard about what I could stop doing to make room for what I really wanted to get after. I began to carve out more time for myself and for things that have previously felt like luxuries for which I didn’t have time—floating in flotation tanks, going to the movies, a girls’ trip with friends, prioritising sleep, writing what I am burning to say—and to explore the breadth of those things that make me and my family happy and fulfilled. That includes teaching and leadership, but also solitude, community, home, belonging, contribution and wellbeing.
In terms of my own wishes, in 2019 I look forward to seeing my first solo-authored book—a monograph on professional learning that makes a difference in schools—published. I am currently editing the draft manuscript! This book emerged as a result of telling myself to just start and go for it, step by tiny step.
In 2019 I will continue to work mindfully to amplify, elevate and encourage the voices and stories of those who are often unheard, uninvited, or pushed to the margins of dominant discourse in education. I will continue to carefully consider the decisions I am making in my life and work.
In 2019 I will focus on LIGHT. Lightening up. Living lighter. Shining light. Welcoming light. Lightening the load. Light-ness. Light-filled. En-light-ened. Going with the flow. Floating.
I’m still figuring out how to move from doing all the things, to doing the things that matter. In 2019 I will give myself permission to lean in or lean out, to do more or do less, in whatever ways work for me and those with whom I choose to surround myself.