Monday, December 15, 2014

The first step in an online journey...

I have been in education for 16 years, teaching in the primary sector in and around Christchurch, Westport, and the United Kingdom.  I completed a 3 year Bachelor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Canterbury when I trained back in the late 90s, and also managed to take a years study leave in 2010 to complete a Post Grad Diploma in Education in Te Reo Māori-Hōaka Pounamu and for the last 4 years I have been privileged to work for CORE Education as a National Facilitator, specialising in learning with digital technologies and te reo Māori in English medium schools.

I love being challenged and have a never ending love of learning.  I am passionate about education, in fact never more before than right now.  The catalyst for my passion and drive and re-energised view of what teaching and learning is all about, is the fact that Christchurch is going through massive change & upheaval and I believe it is something to be excited about!  This is partly to do with our city rebuilding itself after our devastating earthquakes but it is also about a shift towards modern teaching and learning practices and pedagogy.

Yes change is hard and it can be scary but it also comes with amazing opportunities to do things differently and hopefully better!  In regards to education, with all the new school re-builds and changes to teaching pedagogy, I think the next few years are going to be phenomenal and I want to be involved as much as possible in walking this journey alongside those at the chalkface, our classroom teachers.  That is why I have accepted the position of Deputy Principal at Cobham Intermediate for 2015 and have decided to blog about my own personal journey.

The purpose of this blog will be to capture my thinking, learning and professional development, alongside my reflections and teacher inquiries while at the same time collecting and collating evidence to go towards to my appraisal against the registered teacher criteria.  I am a firm believer in teachers working smarter, not harder.

As a PD facilitator, I regularly facilitated staff meetings and was always sad to see and hear about the massive workload teachers had - how difficult it was to have anything additional to think about or do and the real issue was that their love for teaching was often getting depleted by the huge amount of pressure and responsibilities they had. I think we need to avoid teacher overload and burnout at all costs if possible.  One small idea that I think can help, is to try the Keep, Kill, Create framework.

'Keep, kill or create' is just my own play on words for this idea but I am certain that there will be a graphic organiser or something more official out there for this concept. You can work through this framework individually or as a team or whole staff.  It is about reflecting on what you are doing and why - what is the purpose of the task, what impact is it having, what are the benefits vs the challenges and then deciding if this is something you should KEEP=continue to do, or to KILL=dump it/stop doing it or to CREATE. Create means that either it needs to be seriously tweaked in its current form or that there is a gap that has been identified and now something needs to be created or done to fill that gap or need.  The idea behind this is that you should ideally reduce your workload by getting rid of things that don't necessarily need to be done or are having limited effect or impact, particularly on student outcomes.  Or if nothing else, just having a really open and honest conversation about what you are doing and why can be the most powerful learning experience in itself!  As teachers we encourage our kids to do things that are meaningful, not just to tick a box - perhaps its time we ourselves started to think outside that box and try to do things differently too!