In recent years, I have been choosing one word to take into the new year as an anchor for my decision making and thinking for that year.
In 2015 it was CONQUER, as I worked at a ruthless pace to submit my PhD in between parenting my two young children and working a 0.8 FTE at my school.
In 2016 it was MOMENTUM, as I tried to capitalise on my PhD through lots of presenting and writing from my thesis.
In 2017 it was NOURISH, as I worked to clarify my work and life by focusing on that which nourished me, and by saying ‘no’ to more things and ‘yes’ to those things that energised and sustained me.
In 2018 my oneword was METAMORPHOSIS. I considered what skins to shed, and what to consolidate and move forward. I thought about what I could stop doing in order to do even better things. I thought about the things that were making me feel anxious or like I couldn’t keep up. I turned all notifications off the apps on my phone, including my work email and all social media. I quit book club and withdrew from direct message groups on Twitter, Voxer and Facebook. I gave up my blogging schedule and blogged much less regularly.
In the space I made in my life, I added flotation tank therapy about every 6-8 weeks. I started going to the movies semi-regularly with a girlfriend, something which, since having my children–like long visits to the hairdresser or exercise sessions longer than 45 minutes–has felt like a time-heavy luxury I haven’t been able to give myself permission to fit in. I read more fiction for pleasure. I finished co-editing Flip the System Australia: What Matters in Education, and eventually received a print copy of the book in my hands. I signed two book contracts and wrote the draft manuscript of my first solo-authored book, a monograph on professional learning that makes a difference in schools, written from my pracademic perspective. I look forward to submitting the finished manuscript in 2019 and seeing it published!
For a year when I was trying to do less, or do differently, I still managed to publish writing, although the work for many of these publications happened before 2018. As well as Flip the System Australia, my formal publications for the year were:
- Netolicky, D. M. (2019). Elevating the professional identities and voices of teachers and school leaders in educational research, practice, and policymaking. In D. M. Netolicky, J. Andrews, & C. Paterson (Eds.) Flip the System Australia: What matters in education. Routledge.
- Netolicky, D. M. & Barnes, N. (2019). Scholarship of the cyborg: Productivities and undercurrents. In A. Baroutsis, S. Riddle, & P. Thomson, Education research and the media: Challenges and possibilities. Routledge.
- Barnes, N., & Netolicky, D. M. (2018). Cutting apart together: A diffracted spatial history of a scholarly relationship. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
- Netolicky, D. M. (2018). Redefining leadership in schools: the Cheshire Cat as unconventional metaphor. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 1-16.
- Netolicky, D. M. (2018). The visible-invisible school leader: Redefining heroism and offering alternate metaphors for educational leadership. In O. Efthimiou, S. T. Allison & Z. E. Franco (Eds.), Heroism and wellbeing in the 21st century: Applied and emerging perspectives. Routledge.
- Netolicky, D. M., Andrews, J., & Paterson, C. (2018). Flipping the system: A perspective from Down Under. In L. Rycroft-Smith & J.-L. Dutaut (Eds.) Flip the System UK: A Teachers’ Manifesto. Routledge.
- Netolicky, D. M., Barnes, N. & Heffernan, A. (2018). Metaphors for women’s experiences of early career academia: Buffy, Alice, and Frankenstein’s creature. In A. L. Black & S. Garvis (Eds.) Lived experiences of women in academia: Metaphors, manifesto and memoir. Routledge.
To 2019 and LIGHT
In 2019 my #oneword will be LIGHT. I want to experience 2019 the way I experience floating in flotation tanks: in control, mindful, and intentional, but also weightless, open, and in trusting surrender to the experience.
The above photo by John Shedrick–of people releasing hot air lanterns at the YeePeng Festival in Sansai Thailand–is an embodiment of my 2019 oneword: illuminating LIGHT that brightens darkness and reveals possibilities, physical and emotional LIGHTness, and a gentle dynamism as the lit lanterns are taken up and away into the sky. I love that the floating lights are a result of the collective efforts of many people working together to release them.
As someone who likes to have a plan, and my feet firmly on the ground, focusing on LIGHT will be an interesting challenge. LIGHT means finding LIGHTness in experiences, feelings, and my body. It might mean working on my box jumps at the gym to become springier. It might mean finding time and space to think, to be, to yield. It might mean taking life less seriously and being open to unexpected opportunities. It might mean being the helium balloon dancing on the breeze instead of the solid, static weight that holds it to the ground. Being the ephemeral paper boat on the river, instead of the solid rocks on the river bank. Being open to release and being lifted and carried away.