Be the change

Drive change

drive changeAt some point a teacher needs to work out that they are the one who is driving change and leading the people they are associated with onto newer and better ground. They have to have the confidence to be that kind of teacher,leader and influencer. Teachers have to have a methodical way of feeling so secure in themselves and what they are doing that they can be those sorts of change agents. It is not surprising some teachers feel confused, swamped, isolated or abandoned. It is a big, complex job and when you realise they are the people who can profoundly change others then it should not come as a surprise that it feels daunting and extremely challenging to be a teacher. Changing the lives of others and being an influence for positive growth is a demanding task. You need to address those feelings and perceptions methodically. You need to remind teachers they are the ones who can make a depressed child more at ease, a struggling child more comfortable, whole classes full of children who want to be a somebody that somebody they want to be and then they are also the ones who can inspire their colleagues, assure parents in a difficult , disrupted world and who can make breakthroughs in the delivery of curriculum so that it more meaningful, useful and more accessible. Teachers need to be held up, supported and encouraged to understand that they are profound influencers and need to take control of that. The internet is  full of great professional education sites which are supporting schools and educators both locally and internationally. Teachers can connect and be part of virtual groups and initiatives which will hold them up and move them in a safe way to be the leaders they are capable of being. The feedback loop is essential but part of that means teachers need to be able to identify, clarify and express the sorts of help and support they need. They need to participate in discussions so they can drive those discussions further and deeper. They need to collaborate with others so they can share their ideas and thoughts in order to grow them. They also need to feel sufficiently strong and competent that they can walk in and start developing the  ideas they have so they can make them reality. As a teacher you are responsible for a lot of lives and involved in so many interpersonal transactions. You have to know, without a shadow of a doubt , that you are the one who can be the change and that waiting for things to happen won’t bring that change about. You need the professional educational input and development but you also need the personal strength training so you feel you can make a difference and just go ahead and do it. It’s about learning how to be an independent operator who has a way of engaging positively, and in a considered way, with those within  your sphere of influence.

lily tomlin quote

einstein quote

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Induction for Beginning Teachers

The AITSL channel on YouTube has a wealth of positive, informative, practical and relevant videos for teachers at any stage of their career. The channel provides support from real teachers, real members of the profession. The videos relate  and connect to the Professional Standards for Teachers. These are the best professional development resources Australian teachers have ever had because they are authentic and they represent Australian schools and Australian conditions. That is not to say they would not be helpful education resources for other countries. These videos are well made and well constructed. This one about Induction for Beginning Teachers came up on my Facebook feed and then in an email to me. AITSL knows how to connect. It has become good at it and this particular video is very good on its design elements so the materials are well considered from an UX point of view.  The video explains that good induction does have a positive impact on beginning teachers and that if they are in schools with a strong learning culture and are mentored, they will feel like they belong, will improve in their skills and will be strong, confident teachers. I’d actually like to know the real reasons people are leaving. It won’t necessarily be what they say. In my first 3 years of teaching I tried to leave the job. I hated it, but I was so bad at job interviews I got to teach for 42 years in a high school and I loved it. It’s the best job in the world. It is challenging, confusing, demanding, exhausting, exhilarating but 42 years down the track I have found out I really have made a difference. I really did make changes. I really could help students to achieve their dreams, their realities, their hopes and wishes. A teacher is there as a new life is developing. It’s a position of privilege. You can be the one who lets them shine, or change or learn so someone can be who they want to be. You can make them good at something, you can inspire them and you can influence. For good. Like a parent you have a pivotal role in an emerging life. The AITSL video explains induction will help teacher confidence, professional understanding and support developing a diverse range of skills. It will look at professional practices, professional identity and well being as well as orientation. Teachers coming into the profession today have access to local, national and global networks. They have online resources like the AITSL channel and the AITSL site. In the end a real person you identify with and feel safe with will get you to take hold and grow. You have to grow in order to blossom. Teaching is not static so one skill set will not do you at all. New teachers need to be forwards compatible and experienced teachers need to be both backwards and forwards compatible. The new ones will have a vision for the future from their perspective. They will have the tools to relate easily. The experienced teachers will decode that into practice and show the perspective to newer teachers. It’s linking chains and joining  dots. Twitter discussions, real life discussions and sites like AITSL all help to bolt it all together. Educators are all connected now and that makes it a much stronger profession which is far more able to help new teachers to establish their strengths more effectively. A strong learning culture comes from conversations and discussions. That has to be an expected and accepted part of any teacher development programmes. The woman who narrates this needs some acknowledgement. Her voice suits the clip and this positive , well articulated lady is someone we need to value and validate!

Classroom Collective

Amy has less than 10 years teaching experience. She comes from Ottawa and already she has demonstrated an authentic commitment to teaching and professional standards. She is using technology to develop herself professionally, share her ideas and muster her resources. Her old blog, which is featured in the video, is here. She is articulate and organised and knows how to work on a growth mindset and professional development through sharing her ideas broadly. Her new blog is here. Amy also has a Classroom Collective Facebook page. Her Pinterest board for teaching is very lively and full of great ideas. Teachers are now able to reinforce themselves and others by using technology sites and they can become proficient in using technology by using technology to develop and save their ideas. It’s there. It is in public view. We can see just what Amy does and plans to do and how she goes about preparing herself for lessons. It then goes on the internet and is peer reviewed. She is documenting her development as a teacher but also allowing others to be encouraged and supported by her ideas. As she engages with her sites she is reflecting on her practice and when you look at what she is doing and thinking you cannot help but be impressed and glad she’s a teacher. So how did I find Amy? I was doing a search for organising resources. She has her SEO right on the name Classroom Collective.

Take up a challenge.

cleaning challengeI am always doing Twitter challenges. They were coming up on a fairly regular basis but now I go looking for them. Why?

1. They challenge me!
2. They make me achieve
3. They make me rethink
4. They are fun
5. They make me grow

happy teacher

Image : Presto Plans Blog

Currently , I have moved away from the education challenges and am doing Buzzfeed’s Spring Cleaning Challenge. In Adelaide it has to be the Autumn Cleaning Challenge and not a bad time to do it. You get one room a day. It takes 10 days and you are given instructions and tips. It is quick. It makes a difference and I loved dusting with socks on my hands for today’s challenge.

The education ones I have done have made me really think about what I am doing. They have kept me very focussed but the biggest impact they have had on me is to remind me that I am the one who can make a difference. I can do things which change my day, others , what I am doing. I have done the #30goals (@30GoalsEDU) #gratitudechallenge and most recently the #pcps_teach challenge about the impact of Twitter on me professionally. There are all sorts of challenges you can find on the internet or Twitter – fitness challenges, health challenges, photo challenges, February challenges. Each day you have something to do. The longest are a month. My cleaning one is for 10 days. In 10 days I shall have changed myself and my home. That’s why I like challenges. They make a difference.

This is 21st century teaching

EdTech Mixed Plate has a number of videos on YouTube where practising teachers join together to discuss ICT in the classroom. This is what we can do now as teachers. We can join together online and discuss things which are important in a classroom and how we develop and pioneer technology input – or anything else for that matter.The videos are professional development for the teachers participating but they are also professional development for anyone watching. The episode I am using today is on Minecraft in the classroom because Minecraft is gaining traction in classroom use. EdTech Mixed Plate discusses a range of topics and it is interesting to see how the teachers have become involved in edtech and mostly the co ordinator for edtech in their school. Worth a look because I am pretty sure this is the future and now such a gift to us in terms of professional development. Technology is offering us all sorts of possibilities . We are waiting for bandwidth so we can implement these opportunities more effectively.

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