My initial understanding of Cohort 21 was that a group of like-minded teachers from around the province gather, while each person creates a final project for the year. Turns out that was completely right. I ultimately decided to join after speaking with other teachers who participated in this experience and they only had good things to say about it, so why wouldn’t I take up that kind of an opportunity? With regards to my goals for the year, they don’t truly change drastically from year-to-year, but what I would like to see for myself would be maximizing the use of technology and multi-media resources in my classroom, something I already do, but of which I just don’t feel I do enough.
The Eisenhower Matrix was incredibly challenging for me, especially the “not important” categories. I believe that as teachers, we naturally feel like (or perhaps are made to feel like) everything is important. Just sitting on that thought for a few moments as we sat before the Biowall threw me for a loop. I looked around at everyone writing and thought, isn’t it all important?! What am I missing? The longer I spent in that thought, the clearer it became that thinking this way has likely gotten in my way of getting much more done. In my reflection, I came to fill in those boxes, and it was something of a relief to see thoughts I’ve had countless times – but never organized – laid out for me.
Interestingly enough, my goal for this year and my “important but not urgent” piece both revolve around expanding the resources I use in my classroom. When we already have our lessons, our materials, our activities, and they’ve worked well in the past, the sense of urgency to update and revamp our resources can cause it to fall by the wayside. Things like use of new audio clips and videos, new texts, adding new vocabulary to the décor of my classroom – these are all things I believe are incredibly important but simply aren’t urgent because what I have has been great.
Leading Change Through Wellbeing – the strand that caught my eye quickest. This is not an easy task to incorporate into the classroom with regards to content, but it is something I still believe is vital and that my school practices well. Villanova meets in small groups every Wednesday morning for an advisor period, during which we discuss topics surrounding wellbeing, conduct reflective activities, and work together to better understand ways of thinking and seeing the world. This is an incredibly important part of working with young people. I look forward to these periods and it’s clear the students do as well. As this tradition continues to thrive in my school, I’d like to know how this practice can be further developed, hear what other schools might be doing, and learn how this can be practiced outside the classroom as well.