So this week marks one year since I left my public school job, and I have to say I’m surprised how little I’ve looked back. Partly because I haven’t had much time to, but mostly because this past year on the road has been such a profoundly great experience in general. I’m truly humbled by the opportunity I’ve been given…it doesn’t happen for most, I know.

What follows are just some random thoughts that I wanted to capture about this first year more for myself than anything else.

The good stuff:

  • Getting a chance to meet and talk to so many teachers and administrators and others who in general, I think, really do want to understand the changes that are occurring. By far the best part has been the people.
  • Expanding my reach…Some very “fuzzy”math suggests that I found myself in front of upwards of 15,000 people last year at around 70 events, and I only got heckled twice! Not too bad.
  • Meeting many of my “teachers” along the way.
  • Learning a great deal about myself, some of it good, some of it not so good. But I’m understanding some of my limitations…and that’s a good thing.
  • Learning a great deal about the realities of education in this country.
  • Feeling, at least, like I am starting some important conversations.

The not so good stuff:

  • Being away from home. My family has been great about the career change, but my being away does leave a lot of stress on my wife and kids. Thinking of how to deal with that better, (though video Skype has helped.)
  • Not having the time to read what’s in my aggregator…probably the biggest change is that I just can’t keep up with all of the bloggers that I used to read, and really, in the last few weeks, I’ve only tracked about 15 feeds on a regular basis.
  • Not having the time to blog…if I don’t read, I don’t write. And to be honest, blogging has become more of a burden than a joy of late. I think it’s because a) I’m doing a crappy job of it, b) my brain is really, really tired and just doesn’t want to expend the energy, and c) I’m not reading.
  • Not having the time to do a lot of the other writing I wanted to do.

Despite the downsides, on balance, it’s been a very good year in just about every way except just generally being unable to keep up. And so what am I going to do now that I have four solid weeks home? Relax, play with the kids, get ready for a 10K the second week of June, read what I can, blog when I want to and just get rested up for a very full summer and fall. (Australia and Shanghai…here we come…)

One last note…I’ve updated my masthead to reflect the shift in my own thinking about this, that the conversation really has to be about learning first and education second. Not that I’m abandoning the whole classroom aspect of the Read/Write Web. But I just don’t know where this is all going to lead schools. I do, however, know where it can lead in terms of personal learning.

Thanks to all of you who have so generously supported my work this year…

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