Presenting Sucks

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 balanceIMG_6615 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…..

Melanie M

Fuel for Success

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 Surprises

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.

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Find the Spark

After reading this article I was really frustrated and extremely sad for this family who lost their son. These are my thoughts as I tried to process my frustration.

School is something our kids have to go to, why do we try and squeeze everyone’s perfect imperfections into the same mould of ‘this is the way it has always been done’. If it doesn’t work find a way that does work for the individual. I like nothing better than the challenge of finding that one thing that lights up a kids face and you find their voice in this place called school.

 Anything outside of school, he loved to the fullest, his mother said.

Bring joy into school for all our kids kick TTWADI to the kerb and find the spark in each individual.

Please don’t misunderstand my voice here, I am not indicating that school caused this heartbreak. This mothers voice spoke loudly to me as an educationalist, a mum, and a person who learns with a difference.

This Ted Talk is a perfect example of what we need to do in schools. Hack the system and teach kids how to be Happy and Healthy.

Opportunities Made Possible

In my last post I mentioned that I would reflect on the spin off from my Inquiry and the changes myself and my team have been making in our pedagogy around student agency. This is an example of one of the surprises which confirmed that what we are doing has positive effects.

Opportunities made possible

Part of the Visible Learning process has been about students creating their own goals, setting their own timetables and making decisions about the workshops that they will go to. We discovered this freedom to make decisions about their learning time provided opportunities we hadn’t thought of.

For example, a couple of our students decided to timetable time to create a video, to enter a competition for Chinese language week. They created a video talking about their school speaking in Mandarin. We didn’t even know they could speak Mandarin. We were right, they couldn’t, they had used Google translate to find their words. The speaker wrote down the sounds she knew to enable her to say her English words in Mandarin.  Their video won the competition which gives them flights to Wellington to visit the Weta Workshops and to go to the Chinese Embassy for Dinner.