Photo by Imke van Loon-Martens on Unsplash
The beginning of a school year always feels so full of promise! I love:
- Getting my new notebooks, calendars, markers, etc. all organized
- Catching up with colleagues and students after the summer break
- Meeting and getting to know new members of our school community
- Setting up long-term plans for my classes (I always love a good plan!)
- Believing that this year I will exercise and eat healthily enough
- Everything seems possible.
Upon my return to school though, we discovered that there was a leak in the roof over my office and we had to move out while everything got re-plastered. So, until very recently, I felt a bit “homeless” and then spent hours cleaning plaster dust out of every nook and cranny and sorting through over 20 years worth of teacher materials.
School continued on, and for the first time, I felt a little overwhelmed with it all… So, being a planner and a list-maker, I documented all the major projects I am currently involved in at school and I was a little shocked at how long it was!
- Planning, teaching and assessing Technology and Design classes for SK-Grade 5
- Supporting teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms
- Investigating links between well-being and digital distraction
- Supporting a colleague who is investigating assessment of MYP Approaches to Learning
- Determining if we should maintain or change our Learning Management System next year
- Participating in a Pathfinder Project as part of our Master Plan to renovate the teaching and learning spaces on campus
- Planning and pitching a cross-grade learning STREAM event for the Spring (science, technology, research, engineering, art and math)
- Choreographing the school musical and supporting the backstage crew
- Participating in my PLNs (#PYPchat and #Cohort21)
- Completing some online “upskilling” to better understand all the changes to the IB PYP programme we teach at our school
- Never mind that virtually all the Administrators in our school are new to their roles this year so knowing who to go to for what and establishing new processes has taken some time
It has been a discombobulating fall!
Then the season of goal-setting arrived… I always struggle with this. It’s not that I don’t have goals, it’s just that I don’t always have my goals clarified on a specific day at a given time. There are SO MANY things that I would like to work on this year – some big – some small, some within my job description – many outside of it, some important to students and the institution – others important only to me. Figuring out what I want to focus on for Cohort21 Season 7 has been a timely process to go through.
After the first #Cohort21 Face-to-Face meeting, I realized that I wanted to focus either on:
Student Learning – maybe something about developing student agency, resilience, or empathy, addressing distractibility or seeking/ applying feedback
Teacher Collaboration – how might we really collaborate and approach teaching as a team as opposed to collegial and co-operative silos?
Each of these appeal to my personal interests and would help me to achieve other goals and projects at school: win-win!
Now I just need to decide and move ahead with interviewing some students or colleagues…
Hey Lara – loved reading your post. When I read your “to do” list, I noticed that you often get asked to collaborate on many cool, strategic projects and I think that is because you are such a wonderful collaborator…and writing partner :)! I’d love to hear any insights you have about breaking down silos and encouraging cross-divisional /grade planning because I think you are the ultimate bridge builder.
Thanks so much for your kind words @tjagdeo – and right back at you! Maybe it’s my love of solving puzzles and grappling with issues that helps. I always feels like there is a good solution out there for everything – you just have to look long enough and in some unexpected places to find one you can live with. If I end up focusing on teacher collaboration I will definitely be consulting with you 😉
@ljensen wow! That is some list 🙂 Short short term and some multi-year projects. What on the list can you have immediate impact on? What if you started on and did nothing else for a few weeks could you “finish” or at least put a serious dent in? Im like you, I have so many projects moving forward inch by inch that I sometimes wonder what would happen if I just focused on one for a intense amount of time.
Ooh – I love that idea @jmedved Have you tried that? I would often be happy to just focus on a single task for a day!
I’m big on trying to discover, or reveal, rather, the overall theme going on here. I see pictures of construction and dust and being removed from your office and you saying that collaboration is a goal and so…. there you have it. What if by having to leave your office “space” you have this opportunity to uncover new “collaborative spaces”. How much does your physical versus your virtual learning environment dictate who and how you collaborate? I can’t wait to hear more about the decisions you make this year.
Haha, @edaigle – and that’s why you call yourself the Poet of Pedagogy… very apt, my friend! It wasn’t clear yet but one of the projects on that list is about collaborative spaces for teachers and the importance of face-to-face conversations and serendipitous encounters. I have had a lot of those during my reno! Sounds like it might be worthy of a blog post…