Monday, January 27, 2020

Something so true Is what I get from you (The Black Seeds)

First day back at school after the summer break and already there is a great feeling on the campus!

I love my job.

At our staff briefing and during our first assembly, I used a quote today from Brené Brown: assume that everyone is doing the best they can.

I love this idea - so positive and so true.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye, I turned to look but it was gone (Pink Floyd)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Life as a student is hard, man!

Our school had a crazily great genius idea last year: to start off this year with teachers becoming students for three days and attending a digital conference.

With assembly, lessons, study periods, angst of being late...the whole bowl of wax.

Yes, we've replicated the pressure, the digital confusion, the joy, the highs, the lows, the what-have-you-got-next? and what-do-we-need-for-class? conversations, in short - the difficulty of being students again, to a brilliant degree.

Funny watching staff reacting to this new state of affairs after 6 weeks holiday. Me included. Flash backs to Mt Albert Grammar have been a feature. And I've been exhausted doing that and trying to gear up for the real students' return next week, as well as interviewing for vacant positions. Phew!

Suffice to say we have new found respect and sympathy for our students who do this every day!

A great start to the year!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rah rah rah be true to your school (Beach Boys)

What's that sound?

That's the sound of teachers in the southern hemisphere gearing up and thinking about the first few weeks of a new school year.

Here are some ideas to help with that courtesy of the Ditch That Texbook folk. You're welcome!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

It's a new dawn people (Grace Slick at Woodstock)

Photo by 30daysreplay (PR & Marketing) on Unsplash
It's a new year! New starts!

Yes, that also means it's goal setting time for Mandy, me, and the rest of the blogoshere!

It can't be avoided - discussion on Facebook on whether to have new year resolutions or not doesn't help and pretty soon we'll be back at school leading students in the art of setting goals for their year.

But before we start on that proud tradition - some cautionary words from Dan Rockwell to reflect upon:

Some limitations of goals-only thinking 

Goals restrict happiness. Goal-fever puts off happiness until goals are reached (adapted from, “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear)

Goal-driven leaders minimize difficulties and exaggerate opportunities. False optimism results in best-scenario-thinking.

Setting a goal is easy. Choosing the next best step is the challenge.

Goals are outside your control. But behaviors are within your control.

Yes, we should exercise some caution: students can become hugely invested in a big audacious goal - say, a pass rate figure for a year group. The potential pluses are obvious - collegiality and group strength/expectation can raise students up to higher levels of performance/achievement. The potential negatives are less obvious - what about the students who don't buy into the goal or who can't/won't reach the needed levels to meet the goal?

Worth thinking about as we approach goal setting season. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I can see for miles and miles (The Who)

Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash
It's the start of the year and all teachers in the southern hemisphere start thinking about the year ahead of them in school (yes, they really do!)

Although this article by Christiaan Henny (9 things that will shape the future of education) is now four years old, it is still one of the best, most succinct pieces I've come across on the things that will shape the year ahead.