Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lessons learned as I prepare for my new role

As I have now started my new role as our districts "Math and Science Lead Teacher" I look at my blog truly as my journal.  When I read my posts from time ago, I have to say that I have changed my "tune", my out look on education, and my technique of sharing.  Over the last 9 years, I have learned many valuable lessons which include:

1) You can never mandate anyone to grow, get better or learn, your only hope is to motivate someone.  This is not only true for the students who are in your desks, but also for your colleagues.  If you have a new way of thinking, and truly believe that this is superior, simply yelling louder than others, or talking about it over and over again will not only annoy others but ultimately turn them off from ever listening to you again.  Also, any idea you have heard or created may not yet be fully formed to be introduced or implemented.  Which brings me to...

2) You may be wrong!  Sure you went to a PD session which illustrates the newest, coolest, bestest (yes I used that word), thing in education, but stop and think and ask; Are you ready to answer all the questions that may arise?  Do you understand everything that was presented? Does this really mean other ways are wrong?  Are you the expert?  Most likely the answers to all of these are NO, and so be ready to stop, think, breathe and reflect on the PD.  This, of course, should not discourage you to try it and see how it fits, but don't go running to others and start telling them to change now.  Which brings me to...

3) Most times (if not all) there is not only 1 way of doing things.  Alike in math, the solution is much more important than the answer.  Furthermore, the journey has more valuable lessons than the destination (Man I love 1 liners!)  Ask any educator what do they want and I am sure the response will be similar to "All of my students to succeed", and so we all agree on the answer.  However what may work in classroom A with Teacher B, may not work in classroom C with Teacher D.  There is nothing wrong with that, nor should this change!  Which brings me to...

4) You can have high standards, and high collaboration without standardization.  Many confuse collaboration with 3 teachers working together on a task and simply splitting the work.   This is not collaboration; this is assembly line workers.  To collaborate means all working on the same task on all parts and offering suggestions.  We must also realize we can't democratize what is best for one's classroom.  Meaning, simply because the majority feel one strategy is best doesn't make it so.    Also, teachers should be able to attain the autonomy and professional judgement throughout the entire collaboration process.  Which brings me too...

5) Some autonomy may be taken away as it truly is bad teaching.  An example I think of is "Right minus wrong".  This practice to deduct marks based on wrong responses (which truly is taking off 2 marks) is an archaic practice and should not be defended by "teacher autonomy".  However, yes this goes against the first lesson I learned.  Therefore, as educators, we need to understand "why" something needs to be removed, and then offered an alternative solution.  This, I would hope, should be something that rarely occurs in one's classroom. Which brings me too...

6) Alberta has some KICK ASS teachers!! In my most current school, in schools I have had chances to work with, and in fact teachers outside of Alberta I have met some seriously amazing educators.  Students are extremely lucky to be in the presence of these people as I have met the most passionate chemists, physicists, writers, historians, religious believers, and artists in the last 8 years.  My only hope is that I continue this journey over the next 20 years.  However, if I feel like I need to change then then I shall look at my lesson 1.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! That's a cool and interesting post. Wish you luck in your new roles and activities. Our college has a theatre and I sometimes perorm there. When the academic process is intensive plus I have to perform on the stage, I have no time to perform my academic assignments. In such cases, I just look for the UK paper writers and order essays there. So, if you face the difficulties with academic process, I truly recommend you this way to solve the problem. But I hope that inspiration will never leave you!

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