2015

First post of the year! Exciting times.

Well we have done it: taken the plunge into true team teaching. This is really exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I have a feeling that I am facing the most challenging year of my career to date.

I am the youngest in the team of three (and those on staff -but that is beside the point). I get to work with fantastic people, never-the-less I expect battles (and celebrations) to come. This becomes obvious when you nearly burst into tears over placement of some dictionaries (let’s be honest – it was never about the dictionaries and probably never will be).

Why so challenging?

Never in my teaching career have I felt so exposed. With the team teaching and planning environment we have established (kudos to the team leader!), all elements of our practise and practice are out in the open. There is no preparing the perfect lesson for that observation you know is coming. You are in there every day with another teacher who will see what you are doing. They will share in your triumphs and failures, your good days and bad because they are there. There are no selective stories shared in the staffroom as you offload, painting you in a slightly saintly light. Frank discussions that could have previously been politely avoided now need to be had. It really is entering the great unknown.

But it is these very challenges that hold such promise. Already the opportunities I have had to learn from my experienced colleagues have been numerous. We have only planned so far – never mind teaching children (that begins next week).

In exposing my teaching practice in this way I am presented with a huge opportunity for growth (and reassurance that I am actually doing the right things).

One of the greatest opportunities for me is to get used to constructive feedback. It is something I know I need, and I appreciate, but I secretly dread. In experiencing this more regularly through my day to day practice formal appraisals will not be as nerve wracking (I hope anyway).

At any rate a promising year is ahead! Go the junior hub team! I am very blessed to be working with these wonderful people in this wonderful place.

Cheers God (and people who hired me).

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MLE: the current ‘it’ word (well, anagram actually) in NZ education

We are looking at team teaching for next year. It is an exciting prospect, without a doubt! I’ve been asked to present the pedagogy behind it at a meeting we were to have tomorrow (postponed now). Regardless I’ve begun putting information together.

A generic reflection before I put together the presentation: I have been left whirling.

Whilst a lot of the Ministry of Education information highlights the physical environment and the need for modern pedagogy, it has taken some wading to find out details of what that pedagogy is. I certainly have not compiled a complete list by any means.

Across all the discussions a common thread seems to be coming through:

  • More student agency
  • Team-teaching: collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
  • Offering choice on how to learn.
  • Updating the environment to support student learning.

I am in mixed mindset about this. I am excited because of the possibilities and concerned that the MLE will become the pretty shell for visitors, but that actual change in pedagogy won’t happen. I’ve seen it so often with tech: something with such potential yet so limited in its use because teachers are unnerved by it. It becomes a window dressing.

We are called to change our practice, but time has shown over and over again that we don’t. I do tend to err on the side of caution when predicting positive outcomes.

So what how will pedagogy be improved? What changes in the profession are occurring that will result in significant change to daily teaching pedagogy?

When I look at my practice: what could be slotted into a classroom of the sixties or the eighties or the nineties? What couldn’t? Is my practice simply dressed up pedagogy of the nineties? How can this be quantified? What data can be collected to support this?