Open Thinkering



Birthday cake

CC-BY-SA Jessica N. Diamond

There is still no cure for the common birthday. (John Glenn)

Usually, when my birthday comes around I’m either ill, disillusioned or frustrated. Well I’m not that ill today, but I’m not too far away from the other two…

If I lived on Mars I’d be celebrating my 15th birthday soon. If I was on Mercury, I’d be almost 117 years old (thanks, Your Age On Other Worlds!)

A move this year to a job which gave me 50% extra pay, propelled me into the Senior Leadership Team of a 10-site Academy for 2,800 students aged 3-18 kind of pales into insignificance compared to what others achieved during the time they were 28:

  • Niels Bohr published his revolutionary theory of the atom.
  • George Sand published her first novel, Indiana.
  • Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof invented the artificial language ‘Esperanto’.
  • Thomas Wakley began publishing the journal The Lancet.
  • Bob Marley recorded I Shot the Sheriff

Despite not quite measuring up to these luminaries, I’m not feeling as much of an underachiever as I have in previous years. This is partly due to my promotion, but also due to reading an excellent book entitled Ideas: a History from Fire to Freud. What comes through loud and clear is that the genuises whom we immortalise were pretty much the first among equals. People’s fortunes very much depend upon serendipity. That’s not to say it always involves hard work – that’s a given! :-p

I’m not going to list the things I’ve achieved this year – it’s not helpful, for example, to link to a page showing that this is one of the Top 10 Education blogs in the UK… 😉

Instead, I’m going to set myself some targets. Targets for my 29th year were:

  1. Apply for and obtain a job that means my wife, Hannah, doesn’t have to work. (Hannah’s now doing a few days of supply teaching each month)
  2. Write half my Ed.D. thesis around the concept of digital literacies. (my ongoing thesis is online at – I’ve written around 17,000 words)
  3. Start a new project – either through Folens or independently that brings together some of the ideas Nick Dennis and I have been discussing. (I can’t divulge too much, but Nick and I are in negotiations with a major educational publisher…)

Targets I’m setting for my 30th year are:

  1. To finish my Ed.D. thesis, ready for submission on 1st January 2011.
  2. To start learning to play the guitar (my parents bought me one for my 21st birthday!)
  3. To go running at least 3 times per week.

So yes, I’ll be 30 at the end of 2010. No biggie. 😀

5 thoughts on “Twenty-nine.

  1. Impressive achievements Doug – schools would be more exciting and dynamic places with a few more like you around. ..Going to sound like an old bloke here (indeed I am an old bloke, by any definition) and it is the prerogative of the old to ‘tell’ the young how to live their lives. Fret not about money – many of us were pretty mainscale teachers and enabled w’ wives to be there for our young kids. Chez simfin it was only when the kids were well established in KS3 that we both worked full time and I think we had enough money to allow them to seize every opportunity. And secondly, much more importantly as I look at my almost 18yr old and 15yr old I wonder where the time has gone, would give anything to rewind the time to spend almost every minute with them when they were growing up. You don’t get this time again Doug and in a blink of an eye that young son of yours will have his own life and you, like many of us will wonder if all that work stuff was worth it. Turn off your technology and commit the same energy to the youn ‘un as you have to work!

    (climbing off soap box, feeling a bit sheepish)

    Have a fantastic Christmas with the little fella and let your new year’s resolutions include treasuring every moment of his adventures


  2. Ha ha, my mum and dad bought me a guitar for my 21st birthday and suprise suprise i too have yet to master it, get a student to teach you it during dinner time.

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