A Round Up of 2020

Wow! 2020 is just about over and I’m sure most people are glad that it is. I honestly cannot believe what a year it’s been and how the world has suffered. But, I don’t want to talk about that today except for to say I wish you all the best for the next year.

For the first time in many years, I set myself a huge list of goals for 2020 and I honestly wasn’t sure I’d even scratch the surface with them. After 2019 being one of the most challenging years of my life and accomplishing so little, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get back on track. Thankfully, and miraculously, 2020 was a huge game changer for me.

I’m going to split this post into two parts. The quick, short bit and then the second part where I go into how well I managed to stick to certain goals. Feel free to read whichever parts you like, and thanks for stopping by!

Let’s start with the short summary, shall we? In 2020 my life changed more dramatically, for the best, than it probably ever has. (2014-2015 studying for my Master’s was a good’un though!). Here are my top moments:

  1. Starting up English with Claire.
    Partially out of necessity and also because I had been itching to do this for months, I started my own teaching ‘business’. I won’t lie, I was terrified. It took me a week to really calm down about what I’d jumped into, and I spent the following 8 months learning, improving and working on making this the best it could be (and yes, still learning!). I’m grateful to anyone and everyone who has liked, shared or commented on my posts on any platform and am really looking forward to continuing this in 2021! #teacherlife
  2. I no longer live in pain
    After 2019 being one of the worst years ever, and many previous years when I lived in pain for many days and weeks of the year, I was completely relieved to finally be pain free (aside from a few hours now and again). Granted, I’m still sent into a mad panic when I feel the slightest twinge of pain, but I have been extremely lucky to be able to live like a normal person once again. Well, as normal as anyone else during the pandemic.
  3. Levelled up my teaching
    When I first starting teaching, all I ever heard was: “Teacher, I want to level up.” and I now cannot talk about anything similar without using the phrase. It’s funny, but it does make sense. It also reminds me of Donkey Kong on Gameboy circa 1999!

    I have put so much effort into improving my own teaching knowledge and skills, and being able to see my improvements is really rewarding. Of course, I haven’t done this alone. I’ve attended courses with the British Council, ITTC Bournemouth and I’ve been reading plenty of teaching books by Jeremy Harmer, Scott Thornbury and Jim Scrivener (yes, I fangirled when he followed me!).

    I have also been lucky enough to take part in a few writing projects, and hope there may be some more next year as well!
  4. I’ve made wonderful friends!
    By joining a language club pre-lockdown I was able to meet some lovely people, but also through lockdown where plant and teaching communities really came together. I have met some of the most amazing people who have made this year far more bearable. Thank you, lovely people!

All in all, 2020 hasn’t been so bad for me. I’ve had my challenges, haven’t we all? I’ve lived, again, in some awful apartments with crazy neighbours, but I have been able to work hard, save money and make some super new friends. The only thing I am disappointed about is that I gained far too much weight and now feel like a huge, ugly ogre. Hey ho, I can’t do everything!

That concludes my summary, and if you fancy reading the more in-depth piece then carry on reading 🙂

My resolutions for 2020 were a bit of a reach after how shocking 2019 was, but I’m so proud of what and how much I’ve achieved. The original blog post is here but I’m going to go through each resolution below and let’s see how well I managed to stick to them (or not).

  • Be a better teacher
    This is the one resolution I have made a point of working on almost every single day. I have gone above and beyond for my students this year and it’s been absolutely brilliant watching them develop and improve. Having the freedom to create my own materials, or structure lessons the way my students and I want has been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed not having silly school rules to restrict me.
  • Visit one new country
    Well, that didn’t go to well did it? There was no way I was travelling anywhere this year.
  • Continue being healthy
    The one thing that went well this year was my physical pain was at a complete minimum. I never expected, in a million years, that this would happen and I’ve made the very most of it.

    On the other hand, I’ve been incredibly lazy in terms of exercising and eating healthily so I now feel like a baby hippo. Still, I can’t win ’em all, can I?
  • Work on my languages
    Well, well, well! This was the one I had the highest hopes for, yet still surprised myself! I wanted to attend a tandem or language lesson once a month and the year started off well as I was going to language exchanges in Manchester. When COVID sent us into lockdown I ended up working 12-16 hours a day and Chinese just got brushed aside. However, now and then I still spent an hour or so practising some new words and phrases. I’ve picked up some Arabic and Spanish, and now I have weekly Chinese lessons that I absolutely love! I have found a super teacher from Taiwan and although the lessons are tough, I’m really enjoying them.
  • Join a club
    Despite COVID, I suppose I joined many clubs. I started with a language exchange, but then found teachers and plant lovers groups online where…
  • Make new friends
    … I have made quite a few lovely new friends. We’ve swapped and sold plants, been for coffees, kept in touch and I even had birthday cards and pressies from some! I’m not sure how life would have worked out without COVID, but I am lucky to have met such amazing people this year.
  • Work consistently (and if possible, full time)
    Thankfully and surprisingly! I have absolutely exceeded this resolution. The only time I really had time off to sit and do nothing has been in the last 7 days. I’ve made the very most of it and honestly, I’m exhausted. After finally being able to work full time, I got the working bug and never seemed to stop.
  • Reach 7,000 blog views
    This is probably one of the silliest resolutions but I am so beyond happy about it. I know 7,000 is a tiny number of views in the blogging world, but it’s huge for me. This year my blog received the highest number of views and visitors ever, despite in previous years I blogged continuously about my amazing travels and this year I’ve just been sat on my bum all year! Thank you to everyone who’s followed me, shared a post (or 12) and left comments. It means so much to me and I really do love this little blog.
  • Reach 3,000 Twitter followers
    Another silly resolution that I felt excited to reach. I wasn’t expected it but COVID really has bought teachers together to help and support each other. I’m truly grateful for the support I have received for so many of them.
  • Calm down
    Moi? Calm? Yeah right.
  • Read 40 books
    Despite a dry spell between May and September, I have read 47 books this year and I wasn’t expecting it eit6her. I have read so many classics, children’s books, and thrillers. I also re-read all of the Harry Potter books and watched the films again, and that really did fill my heart with joy. I have also given in and started listening to audio books now and again. They’re still not my favourite, but good for a busy person like I have been this year.

    Favourite book? That’s a tough one. Perhaps Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman or To Kill a Mockingbird (Yes, it was the first time I’d ever read it!). You can check out my Goodread’s list here.
  • Stop buying things I really don’t need
    For the most part, I did well this year. I had one post-lockdown shopping spree where I bought a load of junk that is still sitting in a drawer, but otherwise I had no choice but to spend money on office items, teaching materials and bills, so there was little left over for things I didn’t need.
  • Save some money / Pay off as much debt as possible
    These two can tie in together because, surprisingly, I’ve done both. I have paid of debts I owed to both Jonas and my parents, and only borrowed money from my parents to buy a new computer when we went into lockdown. I never expected to save any money at all, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be paying my parents a penny this year. Thankfully, I have done both!
  • Enjoy being me
    This is still a tough one to write about. I am immensely proud of what I’ve achieved this year. I never, ever thought it would have been possible. However, despite all of my achievements, something has been lacking and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it once. I have had moments where I have definitely thought, “I bloody love my life right now”, but I still don’t think that’s loving myself. So, I’ll have to work on this one a bit harder next year.

Are you still here? If you are, thank you and thank you again. It’s been a crazy, stressful, life-changing year for me and I have enjoyed so much of my personal life, despite our poor world suffering so much. I can only hope that 2021 is better for everyone.

But what about you? Did you make any new year’s resolutions for 2020? If so, how did you get on with them?

As this will most likely be my final blog post for 2020, and I’m already excited for MissHillsmith.com’s 2021!, let me please thank you all again for reading, commenting and sharing my little blog. And stay tuned!

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