Sunday, December 8, 2019

Transformer man, unlock the secrets, let us throw off the chains that hold you down (Neil Young)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Now that it's our looooooong summer holiday break (yay) my Baggy Trousers' posts will probably centre on passing on great posts from elsewhere. Seth Godin, for instance, is a very reliable guy!

Here he is discussing how the brightest students don't transition to leadership positions (as a school struggler and a repeater of important years I am an embodiment of that belief). 

Here's the post. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

No matter where our paths may wind we'll remember always Graduation day (The Beach Boys)

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash
Post graduation day today.

Things went really well but those events are always a kind of out-of-body experience for me. 

I somehow watch myself performing and being super critical. My mind is going haywire as I speak - little micro decisions going on about words to accentuate, ad libs to avoid or ad libs made and immediately regretted and then the critical brain kicks in: move on, how is it going?, speed and pitch, calm down!, breathe!, focus! and so on ad nauseam until it's done and I'm sitting at home. But even then phrases I've used, verbal stumbles I've made - all tumble around in my head.

A colleague sent me a picture of me speaking at the lectern and it doesn't look like how I imagine myself. I look calm.

But pictures don't lie. Or do they?

Anyway, Graduation/Prize-giving: done for another year.

That's a relief!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Life goes on graduation day oh graduation day.(Chris Isaak)

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash
Prizegiving and graduation speech making is almost upon me. A week to go, as I write this - less by the time this is posted.

Today's big goal was to complete my first draft. 

Nailed it, the draft, btw and within time (I have 5 minutes of alloted time to fill with inspirational WOW - Words of Warren).

Anyway, I was doing some research on my previous speeches when I came across three I wrote as Principal of Stratford High School over ten years ago.

The last one was for the 2009 ceremony. Sadly my father had passed away a short time before my speech so it was all pretty downbeat. It was a tough speech to make because I'd also made up my mind to leave the school and do some consultancy work in Qatar.

Coincidentally, it was when my youngest was in her final year at the school. I hadn't realised it was ten years ago. Crazy!

I wonder if anyone apart from me remembers all that, and ever glances back. Too much to think anyone remembers my speech too.

But yet, the ritual of the Principal's address goes on. 

Second draft and practices in front of the horses to come (also part of the ritual).

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Tid bits of intuition that I been gettin (Frank Ocean)

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash
Recently, an article by Terry Heick on TeachThought's blog resonated with me. The whole article, Why Teachers Need One Another: An Argument For Affection And Collaboration In Pedagogy, (a little clumsily titled but you get the gist) is worth reading but this is the bit I want to highlight today:
What about a teacher? Who gets to say you’re doing a good job? And above all of the formal metrics and growth plans and walk-throughs, when you go to bed at night, whose approval are you really looking for? What do you look for to let you know, deep in your own heart, that you’re doing this thing ‘right’?
Woah. Those are some really good questions, right?

Some heavy thinking required, and not just for teachers. 

The rest of the article is as good as this and I like his conclusion:
The adage ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’ is staggeringly, painfully true, no matter how hard it can be. This doesn’t imply that you have to assimilate your thinking, or that other people should change theirs for you. It means being together matters. There is love around you, but you have to open yourself to it. Be light for others, but look for their glow as well.
This is true! 

In previous posts I've mentioned how I like a motto in our campus - 'Stronger Together'.

Among this past week's highlights: watching junior syndicate teachers lead students in an interactive game; reading the staff kudos mentions of other staff; and participating in a great professional learning session involving seven staff, have all been examples of 'being together matters'.

Monday, November 18, 2019

All the little birdies on Jaybird Street love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet (Michael Jackson)


A timely reminder from the good people at The Guardian about educationalists on Twitter can be found here.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I went to a ULearn conference in Rotorua and attended a session by Craig Kemp. He made the bold claim that Twitter gave him the best Professional Development he'd ever had.

And you know what? He was right!!

If you are a teacher and you want to get better at what you do and you are not on Twitter you are crazy. Insane in the membrane.

Join up. NOW! 

How? That Guardian link (here it is again) will tell you how.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

War! Hah, what is it good for? (Edwin Starr)


Ever since I was a nipper I have been captivated by the example of Winston Churchill. This is an on-going appreciation (recently I watched Darkest Hour and rewatched Dunkirk on Netflix).

He features in this excellent piece from Time magazine's look at ten lessons from history of what makes a great leader.

Education is not war, but the lessons do apply to school life!

Saturday, November 9, 2019