5 inspiring tips to start the school year

aitsl Image: aitsl CEO blog

Look upon it as a challenge. I did. As soon as the aitsl CEO blog popped up on my Facebook feed with the 5 inspiring tips I read it and wondered if I had inspired myself into the new school year. It’s term 1 week 5 so a good time to sit for a minute and take stock. Why not? The new school year has blossomed and grown but has it been inspiring? I took the aitsl challenge and this is the result:

1. Inspiration number one: do something professionally that you haven’t done before. This year our faculty set up participation a global competition in Languages . It is an online site like Mathletics which we wanted to engage with. We did the trials last year and the students really liked it , so we have moved on to enrolling our classes this year. This has taken time and effort on the part of the teachers and the organisation we are dealing with. It’s a first. It’s new and it’s all learning for everyone. It is now a classroom and home resource which we are happily discovering. It has been a real positive in our lives at the beginning of the year even though there has been a lot for us all to learn.

2. Inspiration number two: join or start a group or better still a movement

My Twitter and Facebook PLN never fail to bring me inspiration. These social media engagements are a source of ideas, thinking, sharing and give me a real sense of participating in something dynamic. I am never short of information, never allowed to stay in a rut and the information which comes my way keeps me buoyed up and moving forward. Our office has also been a fantastic hotbed of ideas and sharing in terms of technology and approaches. We have really skilled each other up and been keen to learn whatever we can with technology.

3. Inspiration number three: ask questions about your professional values.

This often happens spontaneously in our office or in the staff room over recess and lunch. I think it is the direct result of the lean start up we had at school this year and then aitsl got on the ball pretty quickly by bringing us thoughtful videos and encouraging us to participate in our development as teachers. Without technology and those virtual connections to be made you can be left feeling swamped with expectations and demands. This way the information is grown into organic learning which can be shared , discussed and implemented.

4. Inspiration number four: focus on knowing how you make a difference to students and their learning.

I use Twiducate with my junior students and blogging with my senior students. This way I can see clearly where the learning gaps are and I can also see very clearly the impact of what we have done in class. When you ask for feedback or you ask them to grow your lesson in their own way on their blog it becomes encouraging far more often than disheartening. In fact, it’s rarely disheartening. Our students like technology and they feel at home so they value being able to respond and then I can be rewarded for my behind the scenes work.

5. Inspiration five: find a way to make sure that every student succeeds.

“If our education system is to be truly successful, we need to find ways to ensure that every individual in every school achieves success. Success will look different for each young person and as teachers and school leaders we are key to that success. Make sure everyone in your school knows what it feels like to be successful.”

This is clearly stated on the CEO blog and it sums it all up. It is about allowing everyone in the teaching/learning environment to show and grow. No-one can know everything. Teachers can create the learning memes and help students work through the thinking, content and grappling with ideas. Students then provide feedback and have input into each other’s learning and the capacity of the teacher to teach better. Leadership in education has to further guide and support teachers in a productive, positive way by sharing , challenging and engaging with those in classrooms so they are constantly able to have a sense of vision and a real capability to teach effectively. It’s not automatic. It is a complex undertaking but the results can be far reaching and so the foundation and preparation of a teacher has to be unequivocal each and every day.

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