Yes, this is true, for me anyway. I don’t know what it is except I get up there and my head fills with noise, my mouth goes dry and I forget what I really, really, really want to say. The real essence of my message gets lost in the fact I need to perform in front of a large audience. Now that sucks!
Over the last two days I was part of an amazing hui with the VPLD. What is so great about this group is we all have the same interest of doing better in this world of education. It is a supportive, kind, caring group and is all about mentoring each other. In fact mentoring is the essence of the group, it is the foundation of which the group was built on. Each one of us had a 3 minute slot to talk about what we had learnt in the past year. Here is the real message of my presentation which was lost with my nerves.
I learnt such a lot from the wonderful people in the room which enhanced my thoughts on what is important in my work. There was one message that stood out for me the most and this came from a number of people. Take care of yourself, take time with nature – biophilia and don’t forget the truly important things – yourself and your family.
The important stuff in our lives is who we are, our work is what we do. Getting a good balance in this world of education is surprisingly our biggest challenge. Getting it right is so,so,so important because one day, our work will finish and will be gone. That important stuff will always be there, will always need us and deserve us more than our work.
I have decided I will never get up and present in front of a large audience again. Not for my work anyway. I love sharing what I do, I love talking about what I do, I love listening to others about what they do and I love what I do. Presenting is just not my thing.
I have been pondering this little dilemma since flying home yesterday, it woke me early this morning and now I am at my computer at 6am on a saturday morning while everyone sleeps. I needed to do this to clear my head so I could give my all to my family and hobbies before Monday comes around again. I am good with it. I can still share here. I still have the next 6 months to talk with my mentor and I will always have my school colleagues to share with.
Perhaps I could become a mentor……mmmm…..
One of my professional goals for this year was to inspire leadership in the teachers and students around me. I didn’t know how I was going to achieve this, I just knew it was something that was a big part of my beliefs as a leader. I also felt that our students would benefit from this. We have identified our students as passive learners because they haven’t been a part of the learning process the learning has been done to them. In my research I have discovered that children who plan their own goals, set weekly schedules and evaluate their own work build up their frontal cortex and take more control over their lives.
I very quickly learnt to build this capacity with my teachers I needed to accept that I was no longer the person solving and doing everything. This was important to me because I knew that was exactly what we were doing to our learners which increased their passiveness towards their learning. I wanted my team to start leading themselves. When I first wrote my professional goal I pondered how I would evaluate this and my mentor and I came up with ‘When we see both teachers and student leading others’. Students are now running workshops and our teachers are researching and presenting to the staff. As a team we have been researching how boys learn and developing our understanding of the Innovative learning Environment we are creating collaboratively for our students. This is what we learnt, shared and used in our practice.
These are some little gems that I have discovered on my journey of inspiring leadership in those around me:
- Allow my colleagues to solve their own problems with me walking beside them.
- By listening with intention I am valuing what others have to say.
- Notice the treasures in front of me and and allow them to shine on their own.
- Let others know what a great job they are doing
- Giving time to others is a valued gift.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
Leadership Values and Beliefs
My Leadership Values and Beliefs as they are today demonstrate a great deal of growth and understanding from me. My journey this year has at times being challenging as I have questioned myself about being a leader and becoming a principal. I basically missed having the responsibility of my own classroom and the rewards that brings. When I was challenged on this I decided that being a leader of learning was a priority for me. This gave me more focus and direction and less distraction and confusion about what the hell I was doing.
My Leadership Values and Beliefs
- Grow leaders in teachers and students
- Build capacity in making a difference and leading change
- Provoke the thinking of the leaders around me with innovative practice and pedagogy
- Identify, understand and value the aspirations of my learning community with a particular focus on our Maori community and increasing the achievement of our akonga
More reflection on my 2015 professional inquiry
At one point this year our teachers felt like they were in the pit and were struggling with some of our student’s not managing themselves in this environment. As a team we thought that it would be time to define the different types of learners we had in our collaborative team. We decided we had three types and lined this up with the SOLO framework. The teachers also had discussions with the students and students identified where they belonged. Within this SOLO framework
Multi structural – Managed Learners
Relational – Self Managed Learners
Extended Abstract – Self Directed Learners.
The three are distinctively different and require a level of skill to work within. These skills need to be taught, modelled and practiced daily for them to become part of a daily routine. This is a work in progress.
The teachers identified our managed group as having all our target students and also complained that these students were disrupting the class by being noisy, off task, disorganised and often destructive of a breakout space we had available to the students.
I had a discussion with these students – In a summary the target/managed students thought it was the rest of the class that was disrupting their learning by being noisy and off task, they wanted quiet spaces to go to and they wanted their teacher to be available more for them to talk to, they made reference to their teachers time always being taken up with the others students who were being, in their words, ‘naughty’. They also thought that they would be more comfortable with the teacher telling them what to do instead of having to write their own timetable. This surprised all of us and immediately things were put in place to support these learners – a managed timetable was created and time each morning was given to them to explain what the timetable was for the day and also gave them a chance to make decisions about their day with their teachers support. The teachers also ensure these students are listened to more consistently and were given them positive specific praise, praising them for the behaviours the students identified they needed to work on. When they get distracted they are to do what our group Expert, Harry, said he does
‘Ignore and focus on what I am Doing’
So even though we are aiming for student agency for our learners we know this will be at different levels for all of them.