I had the opportunity to listen to Tim Monds from Parkland School Division and Chris Smeaton from Holy Spirit Catholic School Division talk to a group of teachers at EdCampPSD70. They were talking about how important it is to get out and connect with teachers. My favourite line was that a B.Ed. wasn’t enough anymore as teacher. You cannot live in a bubble inside the 4 walls of your classroom. You need to get our and see other students, talk to other teachers, experience other environments. The most powerful thing you can do is connect with another teacher and share best practices. We need to become a learner ourselves and be willing to make ourselves vulnerable is what I took from both of their talks. I am always still learning as a fairly new teacher but it was a good reminder that you really need to force yourself get out and look for opportunities to learn something new.
Today we had a divisional PD day with the 6 schools in our division. It was great to see all the projects teachers are taking on to engage students. What stood out to me today was the engagement that teachers had in sharing and the curiosity people had about student learning.
One of the things I remind myself is that many of the teachers are still new to inquiry, PBL and reflection. To me, reflection should be on going through out the process and not at the end as then it becomes more about the product. Still, we are moving forward and wanting to engage our students while pushing them to deeper levels of thinking, which is the most important part.
We also had a chance to look at the district’s vision for 2020. There is a lot of work that has gone into it and it can be an intimidating document if you are not willing to make yourself vulnerable in the process. This document was exciting for me because a lot of it is what I believe about education and the rest are mostly things I have yet to consider in my direct involvement in the classroom. One thing for sure, is that I would like make myself more involved in helping teachers become comfortable and give them some of the guidance they seek when looking at the educational shifts that are happening globally – even if projects like high school redesign or curriculum redesign in Alberta are changed or put on hold.
I decided today to try taking my sketching digital so I could implement them into my blog. We’ll see how it goes but at least now I can share.
One thing that really stuck with me from this weekend was that as teachers, we really need to reflect on how attending PD sessions is going to make an impact on our practice.
If I had to take 3 things away from this weekend, they would be that:
1) Your biggest resource is the people in your school. Chances are they at least have some feedback for you.
2) Be transparent with the learning your students are doing. They should know why? If not, they should be comfortable to ask why they are learning something. They should know the language you are using in the task. They should be able to explain what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will show their learning.
3) Feedback and Reflection are often the most valuable parts of a task.
These are 3 things I can start Monday morning. The rest will be a slower process as I am developing my own skills and building the relationships with my students. My classroom won’t look like it is from Connect Charter over night, or even by the end of the year as it is a journey but it is a journey my whole school is taking.