While a leader needs to be strategic, they need to lead others by example.  A general cannot fight in the trenches, at least not when he has responsibility for the larger war. Yet, in principle, I believe you have to put yourself in a position where you do what you expect of the students.

To this end, I want to challenge myself with formal studies again (not least as a friend and colleague is starting hers again in Harvard). If you take the trench metaphor as indicative of the grinding routines necessary for classroom teaching (not apt, but hey!), then it is remarkably difficult to keep wider ideals in mind when the focus in on the management and inspiration of dozens of disparate wills.

I remember when I began my studies (before the hefty tuition fees, although certainly not free, or supported…) I had minimal study support to what is available now. I remember that the essays that would often be the most useful wouldn’t be readily available. I could have taken a regular bus to the British library (although often uni life and finances meant that did not happen, especially not for every essay).

Now, seventeen years on, I am older and wiser in my studies. Ebooks have also made resources massively more available, and computer notetaking is much more efficient. With this in mind, I am determined to fill in the gaps in my education, and to become as expert as I can in two fields:

Education (particularly in an international field)
Literature (especially in the 16-19 context)

While formal study, testing and writing is what I need to think about these fields sufficiently, I will use the following to support my study over the holiday (and beyond):

1) I will use OneNote as my dominate form of notetaking in order to sync notes across what I have. I will form notebooks for all the books I will read. I will speed read the books initially before creating notes on each chapter.

2) I will use Cornell notes to consolidate my knowledge for each chapter. I will see if I can create a workflow for my reading. At the heart of my reading will be thinking – not just note-taking, but considering, applied, organised thinking.

3) My reading will be in two forms: books from Kindle, hardcopy books, (as well as some scanned/photocopied materials on my android tablet).

4) I’ll take notes on my surface pro. I will need to collate quotations and other points easily enough. Reading on a tablet, and then syncing that with my Kindle app on the surface pro will allow me to find quotes easily enough.

5) I’ll try to organise a workflow with Wunderlist. I will read as I desire, but the recapping will be via Wunderlist. I will record these publicly, somewhere. There will be 3-5 prompts, and then an underlying organisation point.

Ultimately, I will reflect on this process and will see how realistic it is. I expect it to be arduous and tricky. But I feel a sense of due compulsion to do so, and to experience what I will read. There is an end to this.

As John Adams says, “I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.”