Monthly Archives: May 2015

Do actions really speak louder than words?

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Do you socialise with colleagues outside of work?

I moved 5 hours from my family for the job I am currently in. I knew nobody in the town I moved to, except for a long-lost family friend who was nursing at the local hospital.

5 years on, I am engaged to a local guy. He’s a teacher at a different school. Let’s just say that if I hadn’t have socialised with my colleagues outside of work hours, I wouldn’t have met him.

Despite this success, I’m not sure if it’s healthy to socialise with the people I work with outside of hours. As I am typing this, I am counting the number of friends I have locally who are not my colleagues…and I can count them on one hand.

I mean, I’ve met people. I’ve been on 3 netball teams and a regular yoga class. They’re just not people I would call on a Saturday afternoon and ask to come and walk my dog with me while having a chat.

A lot of my friends are teachers. Teachers at the same school as me, at other schools in the area, or friends that I’ve had since uni. When we get together, the tendency seems to be to talk about school. I don’t actually mind talking about school – my students and the actual teaching.

What I do mind though, is the negative attitude people have towards school, that they feel they need to pass around and infect on the people around them. Yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself, I know. The thing is, if I stopped hanging around my colleagues, I wouldn’t be able to moan and whine about teaching. Better still, I wouldn’t have to listen to them carry on about how much they hate Mr Maths, or Miss Humanities. Or how Mr History needs a bigger belt for his pants…or bigger pants. Or how Mrs Administration’s new haircut makes her look 20 years older.

I’ve made a few changes. There are certain colleagues I refuse to spend time with outside of work. I can act collegial towards them at work, but once 4pm on a Friday comes, there is no chance I will willingly spend my time in their company. I feel it would be detrimental to my own health.

Their words are what I’m avoiding, but it’s my actions which are doing the talking.

Back in the classroom, where I belong.

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I am utterly thrilled to be going back to work this week and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited.

Two weeks sick leave has really taken it’s toll on me, but it’s given me a new appreciation for my students. I’ve had two weeks to watch countless hours of TV, write days and days of CRT notes and scour Pinterest for the latest and greatest in education. I found myself getting down in the dumps as I heard along the grapevine that one of my students thought I must have died because I’d been away for so long and then to disappoint my students with the news that we would have to postpone our Year 2 Camp as I was too unwell to attend and run it.

So why am I excited? Because I’ve found my balance. Yes, learning literacy strategies and numeracy skills is important, but there are other things to learn that are equally important. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve learnt a lot about asthma, mindfulness and inquiry-based learning. ┬áSome of that learning was by necessity, some of it by choice.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to keep all of this great learning to myself. So I plan to share each and every part of my learning with my students. I need to show them that teachers, and other adults, are lifelong learners.

So, coming up this week in 2A: a lesson in asthma prevention and control (thanks to @AsthmaAUS), Braingym and mindfulness meditation & mandalas (thanks to @kaz_phi) and a new focus on inquiring about water – to be presented any way the students choose.

Look out kids, I’m baaaaaack!

Why I suddenly hate SMART goals.

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I have decided that I hate SMART goals. We all know the ones…

Why do I hate them? Because I don’t know what I don’t know. It’s hard to set goals when you aren’t really sure what is out there.

Speaking to an ex-colleague, but still friend, today on the phone. She told me that her current school have told her that they are ‘not an ICT school’ and they ‘will never be going down that track’. Today as she used iPads in her classroom for her students to complete a short Google form, she was scrutinised, as iPads are ‘only to be used by special needs students’.

In the next breath, she tells me that she is planning on attending DigiCon. Of course, she won’t be asking her school to pay for her attendance, or even asking for the day off so she can attend both days. She’s going to call in sick. I mentioned that even though I have attended this wonderful event for the last 2 years, I won’t be attending this year. This year, any PD we attend must be clearly linked to our SMART goals, which we formulated in Term 1. I was encouraged to think further that ‘IT’ for my SMART goals, as apparently I already know so much about this area.

As we live in a ‘remote’ area (6 hours drive from Melbourne), flying to Melbourne isn’t a budget-friendly option for PD opportunities. Instead, we are trying to bring the PD to our school, so more staff can benefit from a speaker.

I understand all of this, but here’s my problem. After attending DigiCon for the last 2 years, I learnt heaps. I learnt about things that I didn’t know existed. How could I possibly formulate these things into SMART goals if I didn’t even know about them? Sure, PD opportunities always have a ‘focus’ – but instead of just one speaker talking about one foci, I have the chance to listen to 10-15 different people talk about a myriad of things – some more IT focused than others.

I feel that SMART goals aren’t very smart at all.

If they are Specific, they narrow the lens for learning – what about all of the associated learning that may happen along the way and take you along a new, more enjoyable tangent?

If they are Measurable, it gives it a ‘limit’ and I don’t like having a ‘limit’ imposed on how much I can or cannot learn.

If they are Attainable, it doesn’t offer much of a challenge. I understand that goals aren’t meant to be completely out of reach, but it is nice to actually have to try.

If they are Relevant, I fear that by the time you actually reach it, it may be out of date – we need to keep up with the latest and move forwards!

If they are Time-Bound, it shows that learning must stop at a certain time – what happened to the concept of life-long learning?

I’ve still had to write my SMART goals. Heck, even my students have to have ‘goals’ to try and improve upon.

But sometimes it’s hard, because we don’t know what we don’t know.