"It is a good divine that follows his own instructions; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching."
Portia, The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene II.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bad Blogger!

It is March already and my blog has been sadly neglected. One of my New Year's resolutions was to blog every week. I started in the first week of January by drafting a blog entry, but couldn't post it because of the terrible wireless coverage where we were staying. And it stayed unposted when we got home from our holiday... and so did all the other things I would have blogged about in the meantime.

So for what it's worth, here is what would have been my first blog of the year. In blue are my comments on how I am doing on my resolutions so far!

1st week of January: The New Year's Resolutions

1. Be positive.  I think it is all too easy to focus on the problems, the lack of resources, the constraints of the curriculum or those imposed by assessments, regulation, etc. I found myself considering the title "Facing down the New Year" for this blog and decided I needed to get myself into a more positive frame of mind. After all, I love my job and I am looking forward to getting back to my classroom! 
Actually, I am doing really well on this. I am feeling good about my classes and the school and focussing on the positives. :-)

2. Focus on the kids. Remember, the students' learning experiences are the most important thing, and this includes their learning context, especially social. Relationships are the key to a positive learning experience, and I know I find it all too easy to get focussed on the learning goal at the expense of the process. In education, as in life, the ends rarely justify the means... if the means aren't working, you've probably lost most of the audience before the learning goal is in sight. 
Hmmm, this is a timely reminder. Most of the time this is easy but sometimes the paperwork grind gets in the way, the course planner says I should have finished this unit by now, and it is hard to hang on to the centrality of the learner, as opposed to my next administrative deadline.

3. Hold on to the joy: Those moments when the lesson is zinging, when someone ‘gets it’, when they come rushing to tell me what they did in the weekend, when they want to talk about the book they are reading, when a student cracks a joke which ruins the point I’m making but makes my day. The joy from being able to share the books I love and the love of reading, and get paid for it! 
Yes! Holding on most of the time. But see 2 above!

4. Document it: We have ERO coming this year so I not only have to be a good teacher, I need an evidence trail to prove it. Beyond the obvious of the management document, course outlines, unit plans, data analysis, etc, I would like to try this year to document more of the joy moments (see 2 above). I’m not sure how this is going to work, whether it is a case of using my blog to record them, or whether I am going to drive my students nuts taking photos on my iPhone of them in action... watch this space!
Aaargh! Keep watching.  Not doing so well on the blogging, but I have started working on my own eportfolio to document my professional practice.

5. Get better at using the technology I already have: I have a Mimio, which is an amazing gadget that turns my ordinary whiteboard into a smartboard, but I am not using it much. My goal this year is to be using it regularly for the functions I already know, and to expand my knowledge so I can use it for a wider range of things.
I'm doing pretty well on this. I have gone from hardly ever using the Mimio to using it almost every lesson. I am still mostly using it for basic data show and recording notes on the whiteboard though, but I am using it!

6. Blog regularly: Make a blog entry every week - no matter how short, how simple, how apparently 'uninspired' I might think it - to maintain the discipline of regular self-reflection.
Crashing, crushing failure here, but I am not going to admit defeat! I will turn this around.

And this ends my 9 week old blog post....  originally drafted on 7 January. :-) 

The photo below is the Kapiti Coast and Kapiti Island taken from the Paekakariki Hill Road in early January.  It was a stunning day.

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