Find your Tribe

Whew. In the insane flurry of last-minute jobs, stresses, emails, worries it’s been hard to find time to relish in the upcoming #edchatNZ conference. But then, an invitation to speak at the conference by our amazing founder Danielle Myburgh prompted me to remember what I’m so passionate about with the #edchatNZ community. And, really, it’s best summed up in this sketchnote by the artistic Sylvia Duckworth:

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CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For me, the sound of the first #edchatNZ conference was a squeal of delight – delight in finally meeting the educators you had been connecting with for months, years even, on Twitter. The delight (and frankly, relief) of finding out that you’re not the only one with the crazy ideas that education should be different – and how you might go about invoking this transformation. The delight of meeting fellow edu-nerds and edu-heroes.

At that conference, the running metaphor was one of the ‘lone nut’ and the ‘first follower’. You’ll possibly recognise the phrases from this great TED talk. This time, we have a tribal theme. I get that there are connotations with the word “tribe” and that some aren’t necessarily comfortable with its choice. We have deliberately chosen this because of the sense of connection and community that #edchatNZ gives us.

And, of course, because we’re #edchatNZ, we want more than this. At the conference all attendees have been grouped diversely into “learning tribes”. We want to grow the sense of community into a force to be reckoned with. A grassroots (chalkface?!) community who is empowered and inspired and supported to start change now – not waiting for the government, politicians, policies and the stars to come into the exact right alignment.

Our learning tribes will be facilitated by trained mentors (thanks to the uChoose programme from CORE Education) who will respectfully prompt, probe and promote deep thinking and learning. Behind them sits a Tribal Council (no extinguishing of flames here) to support and coach the mentors. It’s all been purposefully crafted and shaped to maximise personal connections and collaborative learning.

So, fingers crossed! It turns out there’s a lot to relish about the next few days.

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Relish: My Word for the Year

As I’ve written before, I really like having a ‘word for the year’. I find this more powerful than New Year’s Resolutions. Choosing a single verb helps to keep me focused, and it’s much easier to remember! I get a bit ‘hippy’ about the choosing of the word. In fact, I believe that the word chooses you. There are usually several iterations of my word before one finds me that really sticks. And this year’s word?

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Relish.

Not as in chutney, the yummy stuff to add zing to your sandwiches, as pictured here in my fridge, but as in the verb: to relish.

Last year’s word was ‘learn’. And it was a hard year’s learning. New job, eFellowship, great personal difficulties. So this is a year to live life and to enjoy. To relish.

My synonyms will be: savour, wallow, appreciate, delight.

This will be a word for both my personal and professional lives (and I’m beginning to think these really aren’t so discrete anyway). I want to appreciate life and savour its goodness. I want to relish in the challenges of my new job at CORE Education. I want to keep in the present, to be mindful, to breathe. To keep things in perspective and to search for the joy in any given moment. This year, I will relish 2016.