Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy New Year...A Rainy Day's Reflections

It's raining.
It's pouring.
The teacher is planning...

The weather is interfering with many things today so it makes sense to use the time to sit and take stock. To make some lists. To reflect on the start of another coming year. To make plans.

Last year was such a busy year as I went from being a full-time classroom teacher in Grade 5 to being an Assistant Principal and Learning Resource Teacher (aka school librarian!) with teaching duties shared in a co-teaching arrangement for Language Arts and Social Studies.

Obviously there were quite a few changes and challenges but I just had to jump in and deal with them on a daily basis. This year I want to build on what I felt went well and tweak what didn't turn out as I envisioned! And September always feels a little like New Year's with possibilities for changing and improving, setting new goals. So here's what's on my mind:
  • Focus on relationships.
My leadership role in the school became more formal with my name on a door and in some subtle and not-so subtle ways it affected my relationships with staff members. I feel I have a great relationship with my colleagues, several of whom I taught!  I am seen by many, if not all, as a go-to girl, a mentor, someone willing to listen and to share from my teaching experiences.
I recognize I have a somewhat different role now, one that can be a positive. As part of an administrative team, I want to continue  to model what I believe as a teacher. I also want to "coach", be someone who finds the strengths of each member of our staff and as George Couros suggests, help unleash their talents!

"They're all your kids now!" Those words from my former principal put into perspective my concerns about not being in my classroom full-time, about not building the close relationships (perhaps) if we had teachers moving in and out of the room. I had to move to a place where I saw each and every student and their families as "my" students, that my role asked me to focus on building a sense of a school family much like I aim for within the classroom.

I also had to rely on the trust I had in the teachers who are sharing the students with me. I know they have the same ideals and that the Grade 5s were in fact, having an opportunity to learn with, and from, individual teachers who added personally and professionally to our group!

So this year I will strive to get to know even more about students and their families as I walk through our school, as they come to the library, as I talk to parents in the corridors or in conferences. Some things I will also learn from their teachers as I spend time in more classrooms this year, doing whatever I can to make this a successful teaching and learning year.

  • Be patient.

I need to be kinder to myself! Trying to accomplish everything I wanted to last year was an impossible task. Though, I am proud of what I did get done! Realistically, however I need to set smaller, achievable goals and not feel like I have to be in five places at the same time (Well, maybe I do but I have to be okay with that!!)

Sandy Cove Beach (Image from here)
I don't know about you but I can't jump into the ocean to go swimming! As a matter of fact I prefer no one near me when I do ease my way in to the chilly waters but I do get there eventually. When it comes to embracing change in education however (not the bandwagon approach, though!) I don't mind jumping in but I have to be very aware that not everyone can do that.

Facilitating real change takes time. And changing mindsets does too. There are several initiatives that our District has set in motion around Differentiated Instruction, technology integration, play-based learning and improvement in Mathematics that directly impacts the teaching and learning in schools. There are also expectations for continued professional growth expected of any staff; ours is no different. I will strive to be aware of the different comfort levels of our staff while letting them know they won't be swimming in over their heads ...we are part of a team doing it together.

Image from here

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful. Need more leaders like you.