Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Resilience - a recipe for a secret sauce?

Four weeks into 2018 and the word resilience has come up in various conversations at school with colleagues as well as having professional development examining the concept last week.  There are a few definitions that I have been reading:

  • "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties";
  • "trust and belief in yourself"; and,
  • "the capacity to call on tools and techniques to recover quickly from difficulties and help eliminate future difficulty"

While I see it as an important skill set to bring into my teaching practice, I needed to put myself into the context to get a better understanding and reflected on the session.  Scott Beattie from Elevate Coaching spoke to us about creating our secret sauce which was made up of a combination of the following elements:

  1. Staying present - it is easy to get caught up with the day-to-day of the learning space and the ability to stay present is vital especially at this time of the year when you are building relationships with both colleagues and more importantly the children.  A noticing I had about my own practice is that I am not giving enough thinking time when I ask questions.  I often was asking two or three questions at a time so what I am trying to do at the moment is use the physical action of counting to ten on my fingers to help anchor me to that moment rather than skip ahead to the next part of my plan.
  2. Sharing my values - I reflected that in 2017 we looked at our values as a team, however I had not shared with my new team on things that I feel are important as well as listening to them to get further insight on how we can collaborate effectively.  This includes making the effort to get to know the team outside of school to get that full view of my colleagues as people, rather than 'teachers'.  This openness extends to how I am building relationships with the kids at the moment.  This year there are a lot of kids who have not had me as a teacher and this means that I need to ensure that I am sharing who I am, not only as their teacher, but as a fellow learner.
  3. Reflection - I mentioned earlier that I was excited to continue this blog as a way of reflection however I found myself beating myself up as I hadn't blogged in four weeks.  While this is a tool for reflection, it is not my only vehicle for reflection and how am I doing this while teaching to not only role model but to capture the noticings/learning as well as celebrate the successes.
  4. Exercise - I had been told not to fill the void of study with more teaching and work on maintaining the work-life balance.  Given it is the start of the year, it is naturally a busy time however I am trying to stick to a routine of exercise as a way to 'switch off'.
I think these are some great starting points for this year, especially as we move into looking at our inquiries for this year and gives me some short-term goals to bring into my practice for 2018.  Onwards and upwards!


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

2018 - New Year, New Me?

Like our learners, it is the first official day of school tomorrow and there is a sense of trepidation in the air as I go through preparations for this week.  

During our teacher only days last week, I was noticing how often I was using the word 'new' - new year levels, new team, new hub ... but does that mean I am needing to change along with these?  I agree that there will be some adaptation and learning involved but I think that reason that I was noting all the different elements was due to the fact that my support network at school has changed as well as  no longer having a mentor teacher.  This means starting afresh with a new team so remembering to communicate and be open in order build factors like trust in our team is fundamental in this initial set up period.  I am teaching in a four teacher team with 104 learners so last week was discussion about how we will use the space.  What I am noticing from the four of us already is the sense of adaptability when we discuss about observing how the learners are reacting to the space and being flexible to tweak or update based on these observations and discussion.

I am excited to see the learners this week as I have taught a majority of the Year 4s (as Year 2 and 3s) and Year 5s (as Year 3s) so am looking forward to seeing how the break has treated them as well as looking forward to exploring new content alongside them.  The Year 6s will be a new entity to me however the first couple of days, we as teachers are sharing our identities as a lead in to our Term One concept so during this time it will give me opportunity to both reflect as well as observe.

I am excited to continue blogging this year as I enjoyed the reflective element it brings to my practice and will help draw out some of the wonderings I am currently having throughout 2018.  So new year, new me?  Lets wait and see!