It’s six months since I wrote this blogpost on my ‘word for the year’. In summary, a previous school principal used to challenge the staff to choose a word for the year as a focus point. I much prefer this to New Year’s Resolutions or even goals because it’s significantly easier to keep one single word in mind. I have a strong preference for verbs as an action point. This year, being in a new job – and my first job outside of the traditional classroom – and being a CORE Education eFellow, it seemed quite natural to settle on the word Learn.

To my surprise and delight this blogpost became popular, with other teachers also choosing their own word to shape their year. When this occurred, I thought we’d better follow this up with a six month review. We often write on classroom walls ‘WALT’s – we are learning to… – so here’s my ‘IALT’s – I am learning to…

Actually, when I reflect over the past six months. And boy, has it ever been a journey, I think what I’m mostly learning about is myself. I expected to learn techy skills (and I am, I made my first playdoh piano with a MaKey MaKey). I expected to learn about content related to The Mind Lab postgrad course (and I am, I’m getting my head around the LEAN canvas, startup jargon, and agile-based approaches). I expected to learn more about the power of design thinking practices (and I am, I had some amazing feedback about this from the current Wellington Mind Lab postgrads), but I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself.

So, here’s a snapshot of the things I’ve come to learn about myself in the last six months:

  • I’ve got to feel as though I’m making a difference.
  • That listening is a profound act of love and respect.
  • That WellyED is a force to reckon with, and is something that brings me great joy and pride.
  • That before we can shift practice (and what a presumptive act that is), we must build empathy.
  • That ‘building a plane while flying it’ (as the educators of Hobsonville Point Secondary School often phrase it) is tough, demanding, and, at times, deeply unpleasant. But with huge rewards as potentialities.
  • That working collaboratively can be exhausting, and, as an introvert, I need time by myself to work on my portion of the project, but overall the project is better for working in this way. (But I’m dubious whether many hands do make light work…)
  • That I like the opportunity to think ‘big picture’.
  • That I have a complicated relationship with the future and with school.
  • That my leadership practices are different to others’, and that’s okay.
  • That we must never stop asking why?
  • That ‘thinking’ is my core educational value.

So fellow bloggers, I challenge you to share your 6 monthly reflection on your word for the year… What has happened? Have you managed to keep your word front and centre, or has it become a four letter derivative? Let’s share and support one another on our learning journeys.


5 thoughts on “IALT

  1. Lee Mclauchlan (@mclauchlan_lee) June 13, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    Great reflection of your journey and well put. Thought I would share my one word/s which incidentally I have been thinking about ALOT this week – mindfulness and agility.
    Keep up the fantastic work Philippa we think you are doing an excellent job, with a touch of decent humour which we all need in life.

    • pnicoll June 14, 2015 / 3:46 am

      Wow. Thanks for your generous and kind words, Lee. You’ve made me smile 🙂

  2. tonycairns June 13, 2015 / 11:00 pm

    Hey this is super cool – i will try this too – in the throes of DCL3 so on fire with words at mo but when the buzz of a thousand honeyed thoughts leave I will do my word for the year and add it to the garden of ideas and accomplishments here – well done you – it looks great but where you find the time, energy and commitment to blog I do not know. I love the idea of thinking as your core educational value – its the basis of all we do say and are. I think i will make mine connecting which is just the next order of thinking whether it be neuron, organism or community – thanks a million for all you do say and blog – its and you are inspiring – now go smell the roses on this gorgeous sunday as we type up a storm of words, hopes and dreams

    • pnicoll June 14, 2015 / 3:47 am

      Love that final sentiment, Tony. You’re fabulous.

  3. Danielle Myburgh (@MissDtheTeacher) June 16, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    “That ‘building a plane while flying it’ (as the educators of Hobsonville Point Secondary School often phrase it) is tough, demanding, and, at times, deeply unpleasant. But with huge rewards as potentialities.” – you nailed it there… We must never forget how uncomfortable it is to make serious change, the kind that challenges the paradigms you hold of the world. Hence, your point about empathy 😉

    Miss you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s