Alan’s Most Exa – llent Adventure

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Imagine you’ve been presented with a unique career development opportunity; you are offered the option of doing more of the aspects of your current role that you find most fulfilling, in place of those duties you value the least.

At first, it might be difficult to refuse such an offer, especially if it represented a promotion that brought with it more autonomy, increased freedom to innovate and less bureaucracy.

At this stage, your mind is made up. You are unlikely to need further convincing that this is the right decision to make.

However, if I told you that you were already teaching in a highly regarded, outstanding school with excellent results, led by a strong leadership team and supportive staff, the kind of school you would want to send your own children to – you would face a tough dilemma.

Last Friday, after 15 years of teaching at Our Lady’s Catholic High School, I handed in my formal resignation. I have no gripes with the school, very much the opposite. Neither is it to join the exodus of teachers that the tabloid press would lead us to believe are leaving teaching.

I could not ask much more of Our Lady’s in terms of the amount of support I have received for my endeavours, particularly in the last 4 years. When our school hosted the first Hack To The Future event in 2012, nobody told me it would never happen. When I spent evenings and weekends helping start Raspberry Jam and events around the world, nobody told me I should be marking books instead. When I travelled the UK and beyond to train other teachers for Our Learning venturing into Computing, they did not tell me to spend more time in the classroom instead. When I first pitched the idea of the JamPackedUK roadshow, I was not told that it did not fit in with the school’s core mission.

Realistically though, my persistent eagerness and enthusiasm to support other teachers as well as my mission to ‘engage and inspire the digital creators of tomorrow’ has meant that the number and scale of my activities have grown to a level where it has become a more significant challenge for my school to support me fully. Alas, the sudden death of my friend, mentor and line manager Mark Greenwood last year presented me and my school with more challenges. Mark was an inspirational leader and I owe a great deal of my successes to his encouragement and guidance.

The next part of my adventure starts in the Education division of EXA Networks in Bingley, Yorkshire. EXA are an award winning supplier of broadband to schools with excellent customer retention and a previous sponsor of Raspberry Jamboree events.

There’ll be more travel as well as some working from home. I’ve built up quite a repertoire of resources and experience teaching Computing and building communities and events around Computing and the Raspberry Pi – and I intend to continue sharing this knowledge and experience with the education and digital maker community. In the meantime, the JamPackedUK roadshow continues – I hope to meet you at one of our upcoming events [list of events].

On the morning before I handed in the resignation, my daughter asked me “What happens if the school refuse to accept your resignation?”. I reassured her; that could never happen. She then went on to cite the example of the UKIP leadership who recently refused to accept Nigel Farage’s resignation as party leader. “Ah, no. Our Lady’s won’t be as desperate to hold on to me as UKIP were with Farage!”

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Congratulations! Or should that be “Félicitations!” Indeed we both owe a great debt to our “friend, mentor and line manager” Mark Greenwood. I hope our paths continue to cross, in the so-called “real” world as well as they always do virtually.

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  2. Angie Chan says:

    How very exciting, Alan! Hope there’s more time to chat next time we meet 🙂

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  3. Brenda Dell says:

    Anyone who knows you, Alan, will appreciate this is a further challenge and opportunity in which you’ll shine. You are bound to be missed but you leave a powerful legacy to fill the gap. Enjoy the final term, and congratulations!

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  4. Excellent post! Best of luck in the future, Alan.

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  5. Susan Bayes says:

    I wish you all the very best in your future career and many many thanks for being such a help in the past few scary months!! you’ve really helped me, good luck 🙂

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  6. Christine Harvey says:

    HUGE congratulations! Michael and the rest of Exa are just around the corner from me in Bingley!

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  7. Kai says:

    Congrats Alan and good luck!

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  8. Jan Dowding says:

    Congratulations and all the best in your new career. I attended a Python course you ran a year ago and found you inspirational and full of enthusiasm for the new computing curriculum. Good luck!

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  9. Dave Baron says:

    Best of luck with your new career Alan, I hope that you are able to come down to the land of cream teas and pasties sometime in the future to deliver some training.

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  10. appedia says:

    Have just started reading your blog and I have to say I’m glad I found it. I’ve been teaching computing for one year now and have thrown myself into its exciting world and said yes to every opportunity. It’s great to see what success you’ve had and I hope to emulate that success one day!

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