Tuesday, April 27, 2021

You do not find the happy life. You make it (Camilla Eyring Kimba)

Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

My self-motivation Teacher Inquiry will begin with my creation of a questionnaire for students. Among other things, I'll be asking them to make their responses to some of the ideas posited by an article in Edutopia about student self-motivation via survey monkey.

You can read the Edutopia article here.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Only you know and I know all the lovin' we've got to show, so don't refuse to believe it by reading too many meanings (Dave Mason)

Last term, a colleague gave me a copy of Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies to read. Thanks Lisa!

Rubin's idea is that we all tend towards one of four personality profiles (or at least - one or two are dominant).

She has a quiz in the book to help readers identify their tendency. Or her website has the quiz if you are interested.

Upholder was my tendency (with lesser interlocking tendencies in Questioner and Obliger). I have no Rebel tendencies whatsoever! Shock horror probe!!!

According to Gretchen: As an Upholder, I am self-directed and self-motivated so I can easily stick to a schedule, meet deadlines, and take initiative without much supervision.

I love understanding and following the rules and do well in situations where the rules and expectations are clearly laid out.

I am conscientious, reliable, and thorough. You can always count on me to deliver as planned.

I hate to make mistakes or do things wrong and because of that, I may become angry or defensive at the suggestion that I’ve dropped the ball or made a mistake. I often feel the need to explain my mistakes.

Because I enjoy and thrive in routine, structure, and clear expectations, I may have trouble adjusting to a break in routine, sudden scheduling changes, or ambiguous expectations.

Pretty accurate generalisations I'm thinking.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Whistling men in yellow vans, they came and drew us diagrams. Showed us how it all worked out and wrote it down in case of doubt (The Housemartins)

As a life long fan of lists (but paradoxically - not to-do lists), I like this advice: 
Be a schedule builder not a to-do list maker! 

I aim to limit my must dos in my diary from zero to three each day. But I am a creature of habit and I do like schedules. I still like to use a printed one-page-a-day diary instead of a a digital one, and I still like to set up the week on a Sunday. Our school uses a ten day timetable so if I'm feeling particularly crazy I do my schedule for those ten days.

This works for me - it may not work for you!

Things like my teaching timetable, regular zoom meetings, face to face meetings, duty slots, times for doing my weekly reports, appointments, Learning Centre supervisions, and regular student meetings are put onto my schedule.

I like to physically write them down each week (rather than set them up digitally as recurring events) because they then lodge in my brain (hence the, mostly, one week version rather than the ten day one).

As I indicated in my previous post, I'm time poor. That means my schedule is pretty full with stuff and I sometines have to double book myself (a zoom meeting while doing a supervision is reasonably common).

If I was to do a to-do list each day I wold probably explode. So I don't.

But I do recommend the scheduling approach.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Good things take time

Karen Lau on Unsplash

"Everything good needs time. Don’t do work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in every way. Time means power for your work. Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly."

Source: From the essay "A Successful Novelist" in How They Succeeded (sorry - I've lost the hyperlink to this source but the quote stands).

In my current position, I am very aware that I am time poor for my job. This is basically because we are understaffed and so I cover a lot of ground: supervising classes; teaching an English class; taking a form class; splitting concentration between two campuses (or three campuses for 9 weeks of this term).

There is always a price to pay. In this case (spreading myself thin) it is less time to devote to other aspects of my job and quality slips, even if other people don't see it, I know I could do better.

This is nothing new!

When I was Deputy Principal at Cambridge High School I really struggled early on because I suddenly made loads of mistakes because I was rushing through things.

I've learned to live with that feeling to a certain extent. I'd still like more time though.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Minutiae vs polish

Debby Hudson on Unsplash

People who excel tend to obsess over the details.

People who struggle also tend to obsess over the details.

The difference is what details they focus on. Minutiae vs polish.

Most things don’t matter—but when it does, you want to get the details right.

James Clear

Sunday, April 4, 2021

What education is going to be about

Linguist and philosopher
 Noam Chomsky on seeking what is significant:

You can't expect somebody to become a biologist by giving them access to the Harvard University biology library and saying, "Just look through it." That will give them nothing. The internet is the same, except magnified enormously.


The person who wins the Nobel Prize in biology is not the person who read the most journal articles and took the most notes on them. It's the person who knew what to look for.

Cultivating that capacity to seek what's significant, always willing to question whether you're on the right track, that's what education is going to be about, whether it's using computers and internet, or pencil and paper and books.

Source: The Purpose of Education (hat tip to James Clear and Bret Victor)