Wednesday, September 25, 2019

You're the apple of my eye (Badfinger)

We're into our last stages on settling on some 'low hanging fruit' from our recent campus gap analysis.

Collaboration and buy in are essential for the results of the gap analysis to gain traction as goals for our PD.

With that in mind, it's been a worthwhile process to gain the voice of students and staff on what how we are delivering on lessons, study and the all encompassing assignment that forms our educational process.

At the end of that analysis we are left with three areas that will be the source of our on-going focus in professional discussions.

These involve how to improve the Learning Coach conversations to get to deeper learning, teacher differentiation and concentration on a student-centred approach.

I'm excited by this impending concentrated focus on these three areas.

For me they tick a lot of crucial PD boxes:

  • They are relevant and personal to us
  • They will involve hands on strategies
  • It will be teachers learning from teachers (organic - using our campus expertise) 
  • It will form our long-term PD - from Term 4 onwards into 2020 
  • It treats teachers as professionals 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Bring before me what is mine the seven seas of rhye (Queen)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This post is inspired by Dan Rockwell's seven reasons why humility is a brilliant idea.

Here they are:

  1. You’re not as smart as you think. Make room for ignorance. You don’t know what you don’t know. I am reasonably comfortable with this.
  2. People that seem stupid become smart as time passes. I definitely got smarter when I had my own children and even smarter since my daughter had her own child.
  3. Compliments are only partially true. People smile and tolerate your unattractive qualities. I'm very, very suspicious of compliments. Beware the insincere!
  4. Self-made is an arrogant myth. We all stand on the shoulders of others. You’re reaching too low if you aren’t standing on someone’s shoulders. Again - very comfortable with this - I have acknowledged my mentors plenty of times in this blog.
  5. Control is illusion. You live a life of dependency. Absolutely! 
  6. Success, in large part, is good fortune. You were at the right place at the right time. This is true for me. I've been lucky, but I've made my luck a lot too. I've also been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that resulted in my coming back to Hawke's Bay and being in the right place at the right time. Weird how things work out!

Monday, September 16, 2019

The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves (Joseph Campbell)

And what a job that is for some students!

Our recent Three Way Conferences exposed a few students who don't see as much vitality in themselves as we do.

Motivation is such a key ingredient. So much comes down to how much self belief and zest we have for things.

In my time, I've seen plenty of capable people who doubt themselves and don't therefore launch themselves and accept the adventure before them.

BTW: what a great word - vitality.

It wraps up two key aspects: the state of being strong and active; and, the power that gives us life (Star Wars calls it The Force). 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Three little birds pitch by my doorstep singin sweet songs of melodies pure and true (Bob Marley)

Photo by Tom Hill on Unsplash
Three Way Conferences are underway this week.

Three-way conferences involve a conversation between the student, their parents and their teacher. This approach gives students an opportunity to share with their parents their growth as a learner; an opportunity to accept accountability and responsibility for their progress and achievement, and an opportunity to demonstrate a growing understanding of their development as independent learners.

They are exhausting, but I love them.

They reduce me to the essentials that I feel as a teacher: a key worker; a servant leader; a crucial part of a crucial team; a self-evaluator; a reflector; an encourager!

They're always a demanding, draining experience which leave me wired for hours after wards as I go over conversations in my head.

What I love about them is they put me in my place: responsible to parents for the development and growth of my students.

That's a heavy load.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

If you look for problems you will find problems; if you look for solutions you will find solutions (Andy Gilbert)

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash
Recently, I've twice used the "Everyone has 83 problems" line to staff at school, so it's time to revisit an old post from my Wozza's Place blog to explain it further.

Here it is:

There is an old story about a man who came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. He told the Buddha that he was a farmer. "I like farming," he said, "but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I'd like them to be." The Buddha patiently listened to the man.

"I'm married too," said the man. "She's a good wife...I love her, in fact. But sometimes she nags me too much. And sometimes I get tired of her." The Buddha listened quietly.

"I have kids," said the man. "Good kids, too...but sometimes they don't show me enough respect. And sometimes..."

The man went on like this, laying out all his difficulties and worries. Finally he wound down and waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

Instead the Buddha said, "I can't help you."

"What do you mean?" said the astonished man.

"Everybody's got problems," said the Buddha. "In fact, we've all got 83 problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it - but if you do, another one will pop right into its place. For example you're going to lose your loved ones eventually. And you're going to die some day. Now there's a problem, and there's nothing you, or I, or anyone else can do about it."

The man became furious. "I thought you were a great teacher!" he shouted. "I thought you could help me! What good is your teaching then?"

The Buddha said, "Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."

"The eighty-fourth problem,"
said the man. "What's the eighty-fourth problem?"

Said the Buddha, "You want to not have any problems."

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The bliss of solitude (William Wordsworth)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
While gearing up for Daffodil Day this week at school, I thought I'd do some daffodil themed positive closes during our morning LEAN meetings. 

Yes, Daffodil Day is actually August 30 in NZ, but our seniors have been on exam leave since then, so we decided to wait.

Today's close: Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do - Coldplay.

Then: As we live a life of ease, Everyone of us has all we need (has all we need), Sky of blue (sky of blue) and sea of green (and sea of green) - The Fab Four

After the yellow theme filters through, a brace from WW:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance - William Wordsworth

And some of the best few lines ever written:

In vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude - WW