Monday, 13 June 2016

Something (else) completely new - the follow-up.

Last Tuesday, for the first time ever, I presented a professional learning workshop to a group of teachers. Not from my school, but from 3 other local high schools in a combined schools professional learning day, so to an unknown audience. As I described last week, beforehand, I was feeling quite daunted by the whole thing, because it is quite different presenting to your peers from a position of equality than it is teaching a class of students.

In the end, as everyone told me it would, it went really well. I tried not to include too much (and skipped the part where I had written in orange to skip if I was running short of time) and had a mix of theory/information and practical activities. I followed my plan, and the timings I included seemed to be pretty realistic ...

Until it got to the bit where I was demonstrating how we do things here. In the best possible way, the workshop got hijacked at that point, because there were so many interesting and interested questions. The last half hour completely disappeared. 

In the same way that a sidetrack in class can be the best teaching you do, because of the engagement and questioning involved, that last half hour was probably the most productive in making my 'students' think about their own practice and how it might be modified. They were really interested in the practicalities; having accepted that change needs to happen in their own contexts, they really wanted to know how. I feel that I was helpful, both in initiating some of the thinking, and with providing the beginnings of answers. I know that I gave them plenty to take back to their own schools.

I also got lots of requests for access to the information sources I shared and the ideas, so I put together a slideshow which included everything. In hindsight, I should have done it beforehand, and used that to run the workshop, but that is definitely part of the learning curve. Having done this once, I definitely want to do it again.

Here is the slideshow I put together:

I think the main thing that I was trying to convey, and the most important idea for me anyway, is that modern learning doesn't necessarily need beautiful high-tech surroundings to happen in. In many ways, having this available to new schools is a deterrent to schools and teachers who are in traditional surroundings, as they feel the practice is tied to the environment. Modern learning practice is simply another way of thinking about the role of education and teachers, in that the focus is on the learning of the students, not the teaching of the teachers. Looking at the NZ curriculum and understanding what it really wants us as practitioners to do, and then looking for ways to do that, can take anyone in any environment forward; all it needs is the will to make that cognitive change.

My Hero!

My hub's task this morning is to write about someone who is a hero to them, and explain why.

One of my heroes is my mum. Generally because she is such an awesome mum, and still the kind of person I want to be when I grow up, but particularly at the moment because she is dealing in an incredible way with cancer. 

Since February, Mum has been going through the cancer journey. Throughout the process - discovery, surgery, recovery, chemo - she has been amazingly positive and resilient. She has taken everything in her stride and seen all of the process as a way of becoming healthy again, rather than as being sick. Her physical and mental well-being has been something that she has always maintained, and this attitude has carried her through.

I think the way Mum lives her life, with positivity and proactiveness, has carried through into this episode of it, and it is this character which I admire in her. She is always looking to the future and making her present meaningful in building towards that future. At the same time she is very matter-of-fact in her way of dealing with stuff, there is no drama or self-pity, and I really admire this too.

She always has been my role model, and my hero. I don't think that will ever change.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Something (else) completely new.

Tomorrow I will be doing something completely new. It will be a steep learning curve for me, and I am feeling quite nervous right at the moment.

Last term, Claire floated the idea to us as a staff of being involved with a cross-school teacher only day, and that some of us might like to present a workshop. I am still not entirely sure how I put myself forward for this, it was one of those things that sounded like a good idea at the time...

So tomorrow I will be presenting a workshop on Modern Learning. I would like to quite clearly state that I am NOT an authority on this, but I think that is the point. The amount of learning that I have done in the last year and a half at HPSS, and that I am still doing, is huge. I came in as a complete novice with no background in anything except the traditional, but I was/am enthusiastic and excited by the idea of doing things differently. I guess I am now a not-quite-novice, but the feeling of being back in my first year teaching hasn't quite gone yet.

How I have learned to do things differently is basically what this workshop will be about, and how others can learn to do things differently too - kindof setting myself up as the test case or guinea-pig, and then showing others that it's not overwhelmingly difficult.

As you can see:

I have a plan. It is pretty detailed. All those tabs are parts of it. Everything is timed. And that's the second page, the first page has a section that says skip this section if running out of time. In orange. I am pretty confident I will.

For me, this is part of me being a teacher and a learner. This is part of my own Professional Learning. It is me being Adventurous and Resourceful.

What I think I will also need to do, somehow, is actually write the whole thing up and put that in here. We'll see how it goes first.