Beth Holland

Food for thought…

Obligatory New Years Post


Happy New Year! I’ve been reading all of the end-of-2014-start-of-2015 posts and keep thinking about writing one but just got around to it now. I’ve read a lot of list posts, and “my best posts of 2014” posts, and goals for 2015 posts, but decided that I would instead like to write a no excuse/thank you posts instead, so here goes.

NO Excuse

Last week, I watched a brilliant CBS Sunday Morning segment called There’s no excuse for a poor excuse which made me think about why I have no excuse for why I haven’t really written a post on this blog since October.

Sure, it looks like I write every week, but here’s my secret (if you haven’t already figured it out): it’s just an auto-post from my Diigo library. At least you know what I’m reading and saving, but I feel like it’s sort of a cop-out with no substance. That said, here’s my non-excuse: I’ve been writing a TON – just not here.

So, for 2015, I promise to at least do a quick post to direct you to the real post every time I write something worth reading. If you’d like to keep me honest, look for a new article on my Edutopia blog before the end of the month.

Thank You! – Part 1

Speaking of my Edutopia blog… yesterday afternoon, I commented to my Aunt Helene that I had spent my New Year’s Eve day working on a new post after having received spectacularly critical feedback from Jen Carey. In the past 12 months, I can only think of one post that did not receive her exceptional criticism. I think what I appreciate the most, though, is that Jen and I are well beyond professional courtesies. When I ask her for feedback, there’s no criticism sandwich. It’s brutal, honest, occasionally snarky, and always 100% constructive. She has pushed me to tackle difficult concepts and elevate my writing.

Back in October, Tom Daccord wrote about the culture of professional development communications in the US as compared to Singapore. He comments that here in the US, there is so much hesitation about criticizing colleagues that most feedback simply lavishes praise. However, without the honest criticisms and feedback that I received from Jen this year, I would not have been able to grow in my abilities as a writer.

Jen, I look forward to another year of hacking, thrashing, and decimating my drafts. I couldn’t do it without you!

Thank You! – Part 2

Continuing the theme of honest, constructive criticism, my next round of thank-yous go to Douglas Kiang and Carl Hooker. This process actually began at the close of 2013 after I delivered what I would like to consider my WORST presentation EVER right after watching Carl deliver a fantastic one. It gave me a first-hand experience of dying on stage.

After that horrific experience, I went on a quest to improve my presenting. Douglas gave me the most thorough and constructive feedback that I have ever received after a session in February. I actually thought that I had done well. Douglas gave me two pages and an hours worth of commentary on how to become even better.

In March, Carl talked me off of a limb as I panicked about a session for the Leading Future Learning conference. Less than 18 hours before “go-time,” I had scrawled out notes and absolute brain block. He gave me some organizational strategies and started teaching me how to methodically organize a talk. From that point forward, he offered feedback on ideas, suggestions for how to improve my visuals, and recommendations on how to better write my presentation descriptions.

All Fall, I have benefitted from continued input from these two, and their coaching has certainly started to pay off. I look forward to remaining under their tutelage this year as I try to improve even more.

One More Thank You

While I’m wrapping this all up, one more shout out to everyone who has provided me with inspiration, articles, images, recommendations, constructive criticism, and advice! A special shout-out needs to go to this list of educators (in random order):

  • Greg Kulowiec
  • Shawn McCusker
  • Lisa Johnson
  • Kate Wilson
  • Tom Daccord
  • Justin Reich
  • Suzy Brooks
  • Kristen Wideen
  • Richard Wells
  • Meghan Zigmond
  • Sabba Quidwai
  • David Andrews
  • Chris Williams
  • Daniel Edwards
  • Katie Dunn
  • Patrick Larkin
  • Jenn Scheffer
  • Shaelynn Farnsworth
  • Jordan Garrett
  • Ben Schersten
  • Jonathan Werner
  • Michael Cohen
  • Paul Hamilton
  • Lawrence Reiff
  • Nat Vaughn
  • Brenda Doucette
  • Maggie Keeler
  • Elizabeth Glassman
  • Jodie Deinhammer
  • Dan Amos
  • Jason Heim

Happy New Year!

Author: brholland

Researcher, Writer, and Speaker

2 thoughts on “Obligatory New Years Post

  1. I love the honesty in your New Years blog post. Your reflection on the year has gotten me to start thinking of my own reflections on the year. Thanks for the shout out, although YOU are the one I should be thanking 🙂

  2. Pingback: From Library to Learning Commons – On Edutopia | Beth Holland

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