- Was the teacher’s departure voluntary?
- Is the teacher’s departure a loss for the school?
- Could the school have done anything to prevent the departure?
Friday, 30 September 2022
Thursday, 12 May 2022
The transition from kindergarten to Grade 1 was traumatic. I was a popular child in kindergarten with both teachers and students but that all changed. Unlike my sister, whom the teacher had previously taught, I was an inquisitive extrovert, and we did not connect. I recall her using a metre-long ruler to assist my exit from the family car. I remember I often cried so hard that I threw up. I think back to the doctor's visit for my hair loss, which resulted in an 'unloved' short haircut. I recollect hearing my parents talk about how the school nurse recommended glasses. I thought, short hair and glasses and remember, this was long before Harry Potter made glasses cool. I'd hoped the need for glasses would explain why I was a ‘poor’ reader. And yet, I was the clever child who worked out where to position myself in the circle to read the least number of words aloud. Speaking and reading in front of a large group of people had always been a source of anxiety for me. At times, the memories of my five-year-old self-return, along with the strongly associated emotions. So, when asked who influenced me to become a teacher, I responded that it was my Grade 1 teacher but not for the typical reason.
Journeying forward to my final supervised practicum in Seattle, Washington, it was 2005. One of the first external students from the University of New England (Australia), I completed three practicums at various schools. The final supervisor had taught my son, but I didn’t know him well. What made this supervisor different was the time he spent getting to know me. When asked to read to the students, he noticed I was anxious. He made the effort and took the time to learn about me. His curiosity was reflected in his questions and from our conversations, he understood me better. With his support, in those four weeks, I transitioned from being an awkward anxious student teacher to a teacher who relished reading aloud to the students.
Friday, 9 April 2021
Gordon Training International
(employee Burch, N., 1970s)
“There are so many different aspects to learn about and it’s difficult to know what you don’t know. This leaves you always wondering whether you are missing something. There are also many different perspectives offered by others – everyone’s experience is so different that it’s hard to work out what advice applies to you and what does not.”
Saturday, 20 March 2021
As I wanted to share Socratic Circles with others, I decided to present at the next TeachMeet. While I could share my resources and the process with other teachers, my students needed their voices shared too. I asked them to contribute by answering two questions.
- How would you describe Socratic Circle (written responses were later collated for the presentation)
- What are the benefits of this strategy? (orally shared and capture on an anchor chart)
I introduced the staff to Socratic Circle, when I facilitated a workshop using a palindrome poem. This provided an opportunity for the teaching staff to experience the activity. The library staff were particularly interested in this strategy. I've included some resources at the end of this blog. As I listened to Russ talk about giving students a voice in the professional learning of teachers, I believe I had achieved this. In his research, Jim ascertained seven Partnership Principles in coaching: Equality, Choice, Voice, Dialogue, Reflection, Praxis, and Reciprocity. Through dialogue, we empower voice.
"Voice is sharing thoughts and ideas in an environment underpinned by trust and respect, offering realistic suggestions for the good of the whole, and accepting responsibility for not only what is said but also what needs to be done." ~ Quaglia
To lead change in our schools, we need to be having conversations where everyone has a voice and actively listens - the students, teachers and leaders. How well are we listening and who currently has the most influential voice?
Staying curious, always learning...
Opening the discussion
What word or phrase is most important?
What is the most surprising statement in the text?
What is the most striking image or metaphor?
What would be another good title for this piece?
Continuing the discussion
What do the authors mean when they say ________________________?
How would the original audience have interpreted this statement?
What is the relationship between __________ and ______________ ?
Concluding the discussion
What additional points should be included in this text?
How would our daily lives be different without this concept or idea?
In your opinion, is it morally right to take the action described in this text?
Based on this story, do you think people’s actions are determined by fate or by choice?
Which character are you most like? When have you behaved like the other character?
Socratic Seminar Handout
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
In 2013, I began posting my blogs and initially, two close friends reviewed the first few before I hit publish. While not concerned with number of views, I simply wrote to unload my thoughts. Recently I was asked to reflect upon a prior event and provide a response to suggested questions. Memories were triggered and I found myself reviewing previous blogposts. The benefits of having this collection of my thoughts was highlighted. Like diaries or journals, these posts captured moments in time that reflected my professional direction, portrayed my headspace and documented my current thinking. Events, thoughts, experiences all detailed with words, diagrams, gifs, and photographs. While appreciative of any comments, I simply wrote for me. It was at this recent review of my blogposts that I noticed I haven’t posted in 12 months. I was astounded to learn that I have written 92 blogposts that have been viewed 141,115 times.Capturing my momentary thoughts, each entry evolved from an article, a book, an event, or even a simple tweet. Sometimes, I write to get things off my chest, in the hope of letting go. Recently, I read Phosphorescence (Julia Baird) and Emotional Agility (Susan David), which has generated many wonderings. I wonder how to work on self-care without becoming self-obsessed; becoming confident while staying humble; staying curious while having an opinion. Should we focus more on others than ourselves? Do we become paralysed when we overanalyse? If action is a reaction to the thought, how do we alter our thoughts to change our actions? Are we thinking too much or not enough? This entry selects and reflects on 4 quotes from each book that generated deeper thought.
Part of validating your own story is finding your voice and claiming your authority, especially for the women & introverts. And a crucial part of all of this is the need to accept your imperfections ... (p.86).
Sharing your lived experiences and the importance of telling your own story isn’t lost on me. Preferring to organise public events and presentations than to be a public presenter, a few years ago, Briony Scott enlightened me. "No one knows your story better than you. It’s a safe space and a great place to start and build your confidence." I accepted my imperfections, stepped out of the shadows and became braver by telling my story. I realise not everyone gets a stage, but everyone has a story. I remember one person who had known me for a few years, expressed that she never knew anything about me. It’s essential to accept that if you want to build a genuine relationship, investing in knowing someone’s story is essential. As a coach, questioning helps reveal coachee’s story. As a primary teacher, writing uncovers a student’s story. As an educator/coach, I tell my story through blogging. As a friend, do we make the time and effort to listen and learn, so others can tell their story?
Meeting wonderful people is luck; keeping them in your life takes thought, care, forgiveness & devotion. Friendship is an art & a gift, and some people are brilliant at it (p. 154).
So true! One element I would add is effort. The year of 2020 has provided the opportunity to strengthen wonderful friendships, ignite those just forming, and develop new ones. Whether through a brief text, a phone call, a Bitmoji message, or a parcel sent overseas, friendship requires effort. Baird suggests to be purposeful regarding friendships. Acquaintances becomes friends with consistent effort and care. Value your friendships, irrespective of the effort being reciprocated. Meeting, conversing and connecting with people, simply fills my bucket. An introvert, I am not.
Beauty is warmth, conversation, intelligence and a certain grace or magnetism too. Our social media imprints have narrowed the definition of beauty to what can be photographed, filtered & posted (p.117).
Regarding social media, I never warmed to Instagram. I don’t use filters but admit to selecting and posting my most flattering photos. Beauty, according to Baird, is a mixture of personal traits, not simply intelligence or charisma. I have heard and viewed polished presenters and read well written journal articles or books, only to be somewhat disappointed when I met in person. To extend the concept of magnetism, I searched for a word/s that refers to when one makes others feel positive in their presence. When they actively listen to you and you leave the conversation feeling better and brighter. Do you have people in your circle who make you feel good just by being in their presence? Positive affective presence appears to embody this quality. Recently, I told Ellie Drago-Severson that every time we chat, or I receive an email from her, my mood is uplifted. Drawing on Maya Angelou's famous quote, "People don't forget how you made them feel". For me, beauty includes having a positive affective presence.
…mindfulness is about more than knowing “I’m hearing something,” or being aware “I’m seeing something,” or even noticing “I’m having a feeling.” It’s about doing all this with balance and equanimity, openness and curiosity, and without judgment. It also allows us to create new, fluid categories. As a result, the mental state of mindfulness lets us see the world through multiple perspectives and go forward with higher levels of self-acceptance, tolerance, and self-kindness (p. 100).
One outcome of coaching is developing awareness and through coaching, one may develop a broader perspective. The intercept between coaching and mindfulness is apparent. The concept of noticing resonates with me (see van Nieuwerburgh, 2020). As a coach, I work hard at noticing what I’m thinking, doing, saying, feeling and projecting, both verbally and non-verbally. I am cognisant that words need to be chosen thoughtfully and carefully. Noticing my coachee’s response through words and nonverbal cues is essential. Tone, expression and even silence speaks volumes. While in other contexts, silence may represent a lack of interest, in coaching it often reflects deep thinking. Coaching requires effort and skills like noticing, while staying curious and without judgement.When we make quick judgments, we often overvalue the information that is readily available and undervalue subtleties that might take a while to dig out (p. 31). In general, experts—or people who are highly regarded in any field—are often hooked on their own self-importance (p. 34).
Noticing and valuing subtleties can reflect and unlock one’s thoughts. Spending time building a trusting relationship’s by digging into one’s story or thinking is the foundation of coaching and strong friendships. However, when your expertise or your advice is drawn upon too early, you diminish their potential, instead of unlocking it (Bungay-Stanier, 2020). Generally, teachers around the world are not highly regarded as professionals. They have to continually prove and defend themselves as education professionals. Teachers are required to demonstrate their expertise and make decisions based on their judgment. Often leaders and coaches are selected due to their expertise. Teachers can also be members of the feel-good rescue team. After judging the situation, the rescuer appears, often because the situation is viewed as needing control or time is limited. Have you heard yourself say, it's just quicker if I do it! Please don't interpret this to mean that you must withhold your expertise, not at all. But withhold judgement and stay curious longer. Identifying when and actually ‘letting go’ of your expertise, the judgy advice monster or the feel-good rescuer is the quandary.
The learning continues...
Saturday, 18 January 2020
|My Harvard Team|
|1st ICSEI in Singapore|
|Dubai camel riding|
- Language barriers
- Connectivity (voice, data, etc)
- Knowing the customs and trying to be respectful
- Identification and denominations of money
- Bartering for items, taxi fare, etc.
- Tipping - how much, who?
- Feeling uncomfortable- constantly being asked, ‘you’re traveling on your own, or where's your husband?'
- Being Uneasy - when walking in streets unknown (without GPS)
- Stressed about time - On some tours, after venturing into unknown territory, you’re expected to be back at meeting point at a particular time. And yes, the tour left people to find their own way home after not arriving at the meeting point on time.
- At times, I felt invisible and yet other times, I felt many eyes were on me.
Circumstances did create other challenges but I've learnt to say, "It is what it is". You can't control everything and should never try. I assume being in a less familiar context, compared to my previous travel destinations, heightened my sense of awareness…constantly.