This December wrap-up post has become something of a tradition: back in 2018 I commented on my favourite posts of 2018, and did a similar thing again in 2019. Of course, such a summary is the staple of many blogs, news-sites, and general content-providers. For me personally it helps to highlight some of my favourite posts and to look ahead to 2021. So, here is a short summary of five of my favourite posts of 2020.
Women and the Vote: What’s the Deal with Switzerland [January 2020]
This one was a simple post but one that neatly sums up my hopes for this blog when I first started it back in April 2018. Whilst my A-level Politics class were completing presentations on key events that extending the franchise in the UK, one of the students (Charlotte from Germany) commented on how women in Switzerland obtained the vote comparatively late (in the 1970s). This was confirmed by Fiona, a native of Switzerland. Yes, the fact that this happened in 1971 is somewhat of a shock, but I find that on reflection this post makes me smile due to the synergy of the group throwing up ideas, then the impact on me running with the idea in the form of the post (something that can be in many other posts on the blog, including more influenced from my second year A-level History class: ‘Why did Hitler Declare War on the USA?’). What makes this all the more bitter-sweet is how I distinctly remember this session and how this group (who were an utter joy to teach) was disrupted and prematurely ended due to the outbreak of Covid-19 at the end of March.
What If…. Richard III won the Battle of Bosworth [February 2020]
Regular readers of the blog may have noticed the drying-up of Tudors related posts in 2020; this is principally due to my shift of attention away from teaching Tudors-related content in the classroom. This dynasty – and the society of the period – is one I remain incredibly interested in, but during 2020 my posts were limited to a short one about the relatively unknown figure of Sir William Petre and a late one in December 2020 about the 1547 Homily on Obedience. However, prior to 2020 I had plans in posting a regular series of Tudor “What Ifs”, and so far only one has been written and made it to the site: What If… Richard III won at the Battle of Bosworth. I enjoyed writing it and considering the different scenarios, and although such pursuits have been deemed “mere parlour games” by some academics I believe that being able to re-consider and re-evaluate events are incredibly important for any student of history.
2020 has been an incredibly eventful year (despite the long periods of lock-down tediousness). Back in the summer there was a popular escalation of the Black Lives Matter movement, and in Bristol protestors removed the statue of Edward Colston. In this post I put out my own thoughts on the removal of statues, which was developed and teased out of me from various conversations. In short: no, I do not think that the removal of statues erases history. As was the case in Bristol in the summer of 2020, the removal of Colston’s statue actually uncovered history. However, perhaps a small disclaimer is needed: the removal of statues should be done via the appropriate and democratic means!
Yes, it is 2020, so it is impossible to get away from anything Covid related. In this post I outlined some of the positive outcomes in teaching, including the use of remote learning tools (such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams). It is interesting to reflect on this post: since September my confidence at utilising such tools has increased, and things that I would deemed odd at the start of 2020 (using head-sets in the classroom and communicating with learners at home whilst in a class) have become common-place. Perhaps there has been an over-whelming surge of such tools, and 2021 could see the perfection of these techniques.
The Trail of the Wildmen: The Family Motto [September 2020]
During 2020 I made a conscious effort to engage in more family history, particularly tracing the Wildman name: this gave rise to the series ‘The Trail of the Wildmen’. This has seen further posts about the origin of the surname, going down the dead-end that was the connection to Beaucot Manor, outlining the historical notion of the “Wild Man“, and this one about the apparent Wildman motto. I have enjoyed these posts due to chasing various false leads, as was the case with contacting the Flying Dog Brewery to find out information about the motto that they used in an advertisement campaign. Hopefully I will dig a little deeper in 2021.