Saturday, 18 June 2016

I’ve been asked recently, so what will you do with your PhD…once you’re finished? Where do you want to go? What are you hoping for? My response was I’ve only just started and it’s a very long journey. But then, I thought about the questions I sometimes ask when I coach. What is your goal? Where do you see yourself in a year’s time? But then I stopped!

Do I really need to know my destination?

What I do know is that having the time to read, learn, ponder has been great. Working part-time provides the opportunity to allocate specific days for university and study. What I have learnt being a student is that having due dates for assignments tends to inhibit my learning. It's quite restrictive. When I find myself going off tangent and reading more about an interesting topic or concept, the deadline reels me back to the task at hand. With the lens of a teacher and a student, I am broadening my perspective of the learning process. A learner and a student are two separate identities. I’m developing more empathy for the students in the higher years when grades and assessment appear to be the major focus. Unfortunately, the whole love of learning is lost when it becomes an exercise of simply ticking boxes. As a postgrad student, I want formative assessment, feedback, or an in-depth discussion to perhaps change or challenge my thinking. I question the level of student engagement. I question the students’ motivation for attending. I question the effectiveness of the lectures. So many questions have generated about learning from my current student perspective.

The opportunity to implement what I am learning is incredible. At present, the balance is working. I am fortunate to coach educators who want to work with me. With the opt-in approach at my school, the educators I work with are willing and keen to build their capacity and take ownership of their learning. Working with people who want to work with you is a huge advantage and this is not lost on me.

In education, the art of teaching is never mastered-there is always more to learn. Educators are always looking for further innovation, improved results, more efficient strategies. Sometimes it's good to just marinate. Take stock. Reflect. I’ve spent time wondering about the question that was posed. Whether you call me driven or ambitious, or simply a curious person who loves learning, right now I’m content just being. I’m complacent and while I understand that in education, 'complacent' has negative undertones, I'm satisfied with how things are and see the value in simply stopping and reflecting on what has been achieved. Is it really important to know your destination? At times, it's good to just be.

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