Highs & Lows of 2017. Vision for 2018.

Spent a couple days reflecting on the highs and lows of 2017 and what I was looking towards in 2018.  Not so much resolutions but more just putting to paper some of the goals I’ve been developing in the latter half of 2017.  The reflection ended up covering a ton of different areas of my life.  I’ll share a few of them here.


  • Amazing schedule for 17-18 year
  • Got to just teach Pre-Algebra this year (as far as my math classes)
  • Really great advisory group
  • Feeling I have plenty of planning time to help make this years Pre-Algebra class the best one yet
  • New projects in robotics
  • Got hired on to revise robotics curriculum by Digital Media Academy
  • Some challenging kids this year but not unlikable challenges like in years past where you just sort of dread seeing a particular student
  • Feeling I’m really connecting w/ my students this year and enjoying my time with them in class
  • Blogged just about every week of class this year
  • Not really feeling that much enthusiasm when it comes to teaching math; I’m glad I am but at least on Twitter, I just skip pretty much all the math content that comes through my stream; used to be all about it.
  • While I have some really positive relationships w/ my colleagues, I don’t really feel I’m close friends w/ anyone at work. Probably b/c I don’t really hang out w/ anyone outside of work (a lot of them have kids, live in opposite ends of town, etc).
  • I stopped learning higher level math.  Was doing that once a week early in the year.
  • If I HAD to teach another class next year, I think it’d be cool to teach a high school robotics class. That or coding but I’d have an @$$load to learn for coding.
  • For a while I thought it’d be cool to teach Algebra; make my way up in the math grades but man, I’d probably revamp it from the current PBL model and that seems like a lot of work.I don’t know how
  • If my schedule stayed exactly the same…I guess even more time to do what I want to do outside of school b/c I imagine it’d be less planning; I could work to incorporate more projects…I could work to do that now.
  • Really be in tune with my Spring robotics class; make videos for them, be more present during class (not making my own bot or checking e-mail or whatever…well maybe making my own bot)
  • Really enjoy my time with advisory; do an advisory lunch a month. Really love all the kids in there this year.
  • Make YouTube camp happen during the summer


  • Ran 13.1 miles on my own the day after I turned 30
  • Swam over a mile several times over the summer
  • Have gone 4x/wk to BJJ since I started
  • Got some PR’s in my lifts earlier in the year, particularly in the bench press getting 1 rep of 215; never quite made the two 45 plates on each side.
  • Ran a lot w/ Sara in the first half of the year (she ran more at the gym in the second half so she could watch Game of Thrones)
  • Maintained low-carb all year…which may be the 2nd year of it?
  • My mental game has grown quite a bit in BJJ; I am learning to detach, to calm down, to not panic in moments that I’m about to get choked or submitted.
  • While I was at 158 at my lowest weight, I ended up hovering around 173 for the second half to the year. Thought it was from lifting weights but then I stopped lifting and still weighed that much. Would like 165.
  • Hurt my shoulder to the point that I had to stop any press movements (and the squat rack) for a while. Stopped mid-summer and still haven’t gone back to it. I do the hex lift now to work my whole body.
  • Didn’t do my shoulder rehab exercises 3x a week. Started that way but turned into 3-4 times a month.
  • While I’m learning to survive more in BJJ, it’d be great to do one successful double-leg takedown in a live roll; feels like I just can’t make it happen.
  • BJJ 4-5x a week; open mats once a month
  • Get white/blue by the end of 2018. Very reasonable timeline as most students get it 6-18 months. This would be 14 months if I got it in December. Another student got it in 5 but he’s been grinding; several times a week w/ the extra hour or rolls w/ the coaches most days so he’s earned it.
  • Rebuild habits around snacking; I eat little sweets and breads in the break room or at home throughout the week a lot; lets get rid of that and see if I can get back down to 165. Maintain discipline; make the decision beforehand, avoid the break room at the end of the day.
  • Do interval training sprints at least 1x a week
  • Run the Austin 1/2 marathon w/ my friend TJ (already signed up).
  • Try one ‘4 Hr Chef’ recipe a month and perhaps film it.
  • Learn some kettlebell exercises
  • Get back into pushups and pull-ups; really do a circuit at least once a week (kettlebell, hex, push/pull ups could replace shoulder rehab exercises)


  • Kept my goal of weekly upload (just about, maybe one week where the video was up the following Monday or something). 53 videos in 2017. 98 videos in 2016 (but 2017 videos were much better)
  • Went from 800 subscribers to about 2500.
  • Made about $340 from YouTube last year, mostly on the filmmaking tutorial videos
  • The China Vlogs
  • My Filmmaking Journey video
  • Project Week 2017 video
  • Sara’s Med-School Through Residency video
  • Connecting w/ veteran voiceover talent Brain Kirchoff
  • Enjoying watching most days when I got home from work while laying on the couch eating beef jerky
  • Finishing strong w/ the Christmas traditions and the 1SE videos
  • Feel growth is limited because my channel is all over the place (teaching math and robotics, class economy stuff, filmmaking tips, productivity, food videos, vlogs, faith, etc)
  • Having less excitement about future ideas b/c I’m really just not sure what to do; have been thinking on how to do a Jiu Jitsu video.
  • Discouraged by lack of significant growth but more than that, any real engagement w/ a core audience. It’s different on Facebook b/c it’s friends and family but getting strangers to be interested in your work is the real test
  • I’d like to create something that’s like a music video; fast cuts, cool RGB glitch effects, speed ramping, etc…I always feel those look so cool.
  • Jiu Jitsu video; I don’t care if that adds another layer; my channel is going to be a full representation of me.
  • I like the accountability of a video a week; forces me to think of something!
  • Getting subs and comments isn’t the goal; creating videos I’m excited about and being proud of the final product is the goal; most YouTubers make a subscriber goal for the year but I don’t plan on doing that this year.


By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

Related Posts

Leave a Reply