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.
You know, I’ve been meaning to blog for a while. I have several ideas about things I’d like to explore. But this is the blogpost that fell into my head while I was washing dishes…
I’m part of the collective behind #WellyED: a connected educators’ network in Wellington. I’m the human who tweets using the @Welly_ED handle, and the person who posts on the blogsite. While I kind of pitched the idea of starting such a group at an Eduignite evening last year, I’m by no means a lone nut. One of many things that’s so awesome about WellyED is that it’s much bigger than one person, and therefore stronger and more vibrant for it. Just some of the awesome educators I get to work with on this project are: Leanne Stubbing, Rebbecca Sweeney, Nathaniel Louwrens, Stephen Eames, Paula Hay, Diana-Grace Morris, Tony Cairns, Lisa Bengtsson, Matt Ives, Brie Jessen-Vaughan, and more! (The problem with naming individuals is that invariably you leave someone out. Sincerest apologies if this is you – let me know, and I’ll add you!)
And I’m proud, so very very proud of what we have achieved. We aim to connect Wellington educators so that we can share and learn from and support one another. We aim to hold at least one event per term. We launched off with a hugely successful #educampwelly in February (over 100 registrations!), and, since then, have showcased 18 educators on the blog, socialised over a beer, and listened to inspiring speakers at last month’s Edugnite (with over 50 in attendance).
The numbers of local educators we have continued to attract to our events shows to me that there is a groundswell of support for future-focused education in this country. What we’re taking about here is nothing less than grassroots revolution. There is also increasing pride in Wellington as we prove ourselves to be as innovative, imaginative and curious as our colleagues up and down the country. And I get to play a small part in this. Awesome.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. I’ve been remiss on the blogging front…but there’s a couple of posts slowly germinating. Check back here soon for a blog on the design thinking I did with my Year 8 class, and some of my big picture, moonshot thinking.
Thanks reading, commenting and following. See you next year!
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley
3 Principles that supports human life flourishing:
- Diversity – “kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents”
- Curiosity – “curiosity is the engine of achievement”
- Creativity – “one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop powers of creativity”
Other gems from this talk:
- Great teachers “mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage”
- “The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning” – there is difference between the task of teaching and the achieving of it, e.g. dieting. You can be on a diet, but not be losing weight…!
- There is a place for testing but it should not obstruct learning. We currently have a culture of compliance rather than a culture of curiosity.
- Case of Finland, where teaching and learning is individualised
- Also places importance on the professional learning of teachers
It would be interesting to see what the New Zealand Curriculum says about these three principles. My current understanding is that they are supported. The intention behind the NZC is for schools to create their own curricula which are in line with the communities and students they serve.
The three principles are also ways to measure the benefit of new teaching practices. Will they allow diversity, curiosity and creativity to flourish?