Monday, 23 December 2013

Impatient and enthusiastic: Synonyms or antonyms?

I observe my students and relate to them in many ways. I see myself in them. Eager, enthusiastic, impatient, engaged, and frustrated.  I was not eager nor engaged in my learning at school but once I began university (as a mature age student), I had an insatiable desire to learn. I'm the same today. I've been described as enthusiastic and eager. Yet throughout the years a few have said that I'm impatient and appear frustrated. So are these synonyms or antonyms, positive or negative traits? Is there a fine line between the two or do they cross over? I decided to look at the definitions-

: feeling or showing strong excitement about something 
: filled with or marked by enthusiasm

:  to induce feelings of discouragement in
:  to make invalid or of no effect

:  marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire 

: not willing to wait for something or someone
: wanting or eager to do something without waiting


Every context is different; everyone's perspective is different. When one says you are impatient or frustrated, I previously viewed this negatively. I see being eager and enthusiastic as more positive attributes. Through much reflection, my beliefs have changed. I'm keen, eager and enthusiastic and while I may get frustrated and impatient at times, this is usually short lived. Frustration comes from being passionate or having an interest in the project or learning. My enthusiasm and eagerness are long term. So when I see students getting frustrated and/or impatient, I am reminded that these are short term responses in their learning journey. It indicates that they are engaged and they care about their learning and I need to acknowledge this. We should develop their resilience through modeling and discussion. Being enthusiastic, eager and engaged in their learning are the long term attributes we need to maintain, encourage or even ignite. So yes, I'm enthusiastic, eager, and at times frustrated and impatient but in my opinion they are all suitable characteristics of a passionate learner.

Developing a growth mindset,

Monday, 16 December 2013

Global Accreditation.

My teaching journey began in Brisbane at ACU and then we were transferred overseas. As long as I could continue to study education, I was happy. University of New England (Australia) allowed me to do just that. As an external student (2002) I had assignments due the same date as internal students and sat for the exams at the University of Washington (monitored by cameras). I completed a Bachelor of General Studies/Bachelor of Teaching with a major in Physical Education and minor in World Religions. We were living in Seattle and I completed my three practicums there. To be accredited by Washington State I needed to sit CSET & CBEST exams. With this completed I received my credential only to be transferred to California the following week. And guess what? California did not recognize Washington State certification.

In California, I had to get the World Education Services (New York) to evaluate my Australian teaching degree. A couple of hundred dollars later I received a GPA and my degree evaluation. With this, I applied to the Marin County Office of Education who eventually recognized my teaching qualifications and gave me credit for CLAD (Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development). With this I was allowed to apply for teaching positions and once employed began my BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support & Assessment) course. This Californian mandatory course could be completed within two to five years. Through BTSA I met my mentor, Chris. We met weekly and attended workshops together. Although Chris was assigned to me and paid as my mentor, she became my friend and I still seek her advice today. Mentors are assigned to you and chosen outside of your school. I completed my Clear Credential and enjoyed the process and learnt a lot from Chris. While my Australian degree gave me a solid theoretical foundation, this framework and the mentoring program made me a more effective, reflective teacher.

Our school had its own salary system, the Teaching Excellence Program, where teachers demonstrated their effectiveness in five domains. Teachers applied for a band increase which was linked to salary. As a member of this committee I valued this system because if you were eager, enthusiastic and ambitious, it was recognized and you could advance. Your band and salary were not determined only by your years of experience but by your accomplished goals which were set by you and your supervisor. Not confined by your years of experience, all your accomplishments, be it academic, presenting, researching etc were acknowledged and resulted in a band and salary increase. Some teachers are content and satisfied staying in the same band but if you wanted to develop further, you were encouraged. While the salary was increased each year, if you moved bands, your increase was more substantial. I learnt I received a band increase and promotion the day I advised my Principal we were being relocated back to Australia.

Upon arriving back in Australia, I began the accreditation process once again. While I had two Australian education degrees, I hadn't taught in NSW before. This meant I was identified as a New Scheme teacher. So I had to go through a very similar process to California (but with no mentor) with the New South Wales Institute of Teaching (NSWIT). I completed this in nine months and received the highest teacher salary possible six months later. This particular system acknowledged my teaching degrees, child rearing experience, and US teaching experience. Now I was credentialed in two countries, three states.

Last year I changed schools and now find myself in another accreditation system. They acknowledge me as a teacher but only from the time I returned to Australia and received my NSWIT accreditation. While I accept accreditation and systems provide accountability and consistency, sometimes they may discourage teachers if we don't acknowledge postgraduate study or overseas experience. My CV reflects all the additional projects, research, degrees and learning experiences I accomplished both in the US and Australia. Systems need to acknowledge that effective teachers aren't only determined by time frames and experience in certain contexts but other accomplishments too.  I can't seem to work the system and would like the system to work for me!


My Homework-At the suggestion of Rhoni MacFarlane

Rhoni MacFarlane has gently nudged me to share through blogging!

11 Random Facts about me.

1. I did classical & jazz ballet, gymnastics and tap dancing for about 8 years.
2. I am terrified of grasshoppers and Christmas beetles.
3. I went to university at the age of 30.
4. I have lived in many places including Banff, Calgary, Seattle, San Francisco and spent 3 months traveling with our 10 week old son through Alaska in a VW camper van.
5. I am not fond of know-it-alls and arrogant people.
6. There's nothing better than a frozen Crunchie. I savour every mouthful. Try it!
7. None of my children look like me.
8. While living in Banff I walked everywhere, wore woollen socks with Birkenstocks, fleece pants, no make-up and rarely blow dried my hair.
9. My husband was charged by a black bear twice. I was charged by an elk... but I was 6 months pregnant!
10. I prefer the snow to hot weather. There is something magical about snow.
11. I was asked to party with INXS but said no as I had to be home by 12... I was 17.

Questions for ME!

1. What is a habit you wish you didn’t have? Sneezing really loudly!
2. Where is somewhere you have always wanted to travel? Ireland
3. Which way should the toilet paper face? Under looks neater but probably over for practicality.
4. What band/musician are you embarrassed to admit you secretly enjoy? Bing Crosby & Dean Martin-especially this time of year-Christmas. They remind me of my Dad.
5. What is something you keep that you should really throw out? My expired drivers license from other States/countries.
6. Ice cream/Frozen Yoghurt/Sorbet/Gelati? Just tried MOOCHI-coconut yoghurt with white chocolate buds as topping.
7. What do you wish you did more of? Exercise.
8. What was the first movie you ever saw at the cinema? I don't remember but the most memorable was The Shining! My sister and I were so scared. REDRUM
10. Who is someone that you are grateful for but never tell them enough? My children.
Summer/Autumn/Winter/Spring and why? Winter in Banff for skiing or Summer in Seattle at Alki Beach-awesome sea life.
11. Have you ever been to Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)? No-but plan to when I'm older.

Questions for YOU!

1. What is your best feature?
2. Who is the person you most admire? Why?
3. White, dark or milk chocolate?
4. Where would your ultimate home be located?
5. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
6. What is your most memorable day at school?
7. What would you do if you had 6 hours of free time and money wasn't an issue?
8. Are you good at keeping secrets?
9. Who is your favourite James Bond actor?
10. Have you ever kept a diary?
11. What would be your ultimate pet?

Now It’s Your Turn: note this is the first time I have EVER passed on a “chain letter”, however for some of you listed, it may be the nudge you need to write an overdue post.

1. Jeannette James
2. John Goh
3. Holly Fairbrother
4. Henrietta Miller
5. Jason Graham
6. Corinne Campbell
7. Michelle Hostrup
8. Jason Borto
9. Peter Holmes
10. Matthew Esterman
11. Betty C

Here’s how it works:
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
List 11 bloggers.
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
Post back here with a link after you write this. Go on, you have homework to do.