Ok, so it’s a given that I need to blog more. My PLN tells me, my mind is always ticking over with ideas and
experiences I have had, but lately, I haven’t been feeling it. Or I’ve been a scratch on time poor. Excuses. I hate them, and here I am rattling them off. Poor
So it’s taken a day of pretty poor form to inspire this post. And before you turn away, (or scroll down, and down to reach the bottom of this epic post) this isn’t a sob story about a bad day at work, nor a whinge. I called it ‘the best worst day of my life’.
Today was one of those days, when you are walking about 10 steps behind yourself. When nothing clicks and you are dancing to a totally different beat. Frankly, not much went right. It happens. But why we feel is so deeply in education is because kids are involved in the process of it all, at the core of what we do, at the very heart of our day. So when things don’t go to plan, ultimately there is that dark spot in your gut that knows you could have, and should have, done so much better, or that you have in some way let a kid down.
Now, nothing too critical or tragic unfolded today, but when you are floating a new integrated learning project to 300 kids and you are not on your game, chances are it will crash and burn. Enough said.
So why, oh why would I select this as my first edublog in a while? After all, I have been to some amazing events with #teachmeet, #GELS11, #TLV11 just to name a few, where I have met and connected with the most extraordinary educators and people, such as @malynmawby, @7mrsjames @wholeboxndice @steve_collis @stephenheppel @adriancamm all deserving of a summary and shoutout. Had you asked me at some point between 1.40pm and 4.00pm if I would tell everyone about today , I would have felt the heat rise in my chest and my throat tighten, but now…I look back with some perspective and remember something that someone said to me about blogging (amongst other things) today…you have to share the good stuff. (ok, even though I am writing this from under my doona, still reeling a little…)
I know I would have probably come to this conclusion at some point, although I don’t share it as much as I should, I reflect deeply and I evaluate and adapt what I do. I’ve always believed in learning with students, and that the process is more valuable than the product. In fact, most who know me also know I have said and feel this pretty openly; ‘this role I have and the kids I spend my day with are so meaningful to me, it hurts my guts’ But today was a little different. I reached some points of deep and critical thinking very swiftly. I got by with a little help from my friends.
Ok, so get to the point, why today, why this positively hideous situation to record for the world to read? A few reasons actually.
- To echo the sentiments of George Couros; We are all teachers. These are our kids. We need to do our best for them. And sometimes our intentions don’t meet the outcome. This is hard. It’s really horrible actually. But we’ve all had days like this and the best we can do it sit back, think about where the disconnect was and put the plug back in. In fact, the very worst thing we can do is sweep it under the rug where we want it to go! For me, this has involved a partial overhaul of the project and how I will communicate the vision to all stakeholders. Outcome; I’m much more comfortable with the process going forward. Lesson: Trust your gut and focus on this part of George’s statement; ‘we need to do our best…’ and sometimes your very best at the time is ok. As long as you don’t settle.
- Out of the dark came something astonishingly spectacular. And all in the room would agree. As the afternoon was wrapping up, and to be honest, I was for the first time since I was a prac student, counting down the minutes until the bell, something pretty amazing happened. A student asked me if she could address the group. 300 kids and some 20 teachers. She wanted to share her vision of the project and process. This student’s articulation of her learning and how others should and could approach the task at hand was nothing short of extraordinary. She commanded the space as she asked per peers to embrace the change to explore their learning deeply, to personalize the experience and to think widely and deeply. She then recapped the ‘intent’ of the afternoon and modeled how she would progress and push her thinking into the evening. An appreciative round of
applause exploded from her peers as they were given clarity from the best place possible…their friend, who somehow in what seemed like the darkest, heaviest place I have ever been in the learning situation with kids, got it. It was her manner and message, and certainly the serendipity of her timing… that was a moment in teaching I will not forget. Again, I’m reminded of George Couros; ‘I believe that kids do more for us as
educators than we do for them; they are great to be around’.
- I cared deeply about the loss of this learning event, as it was planned to run, and I shared my disappointment with a few colleagues today. The discussions that ensued were tough, honest, cathartic and undoubtedly overall essential for my growth as a professional, and person. Some feedback included rethinking my discourse, reconnecting with my core business but overall, evaluate the process, fix what you can and grow from this. It is in the depth of a discussion that comes from the hard place that our connections with people and processes strengthen. A key idea… ‘pick out some good things from today and share them…learn through the process’
I have lived in this very day for quite a number of months now. I was floating a huge vision of the Creative Curriculum PBL task to 300 hundred kids I care deeply about. It is also the second week in November, and if you have been following my string of tweets over this time, something else really important to me is happening right now…you can probably put two and two together. (yep, and I’m guessing that’s your ‘ooohhhhh no’ cringe face you have just
pulled…) As much as I wanted to run away and never come back, two teachers would not let me. Like two big brothers, they hounded me until I would sit down and do the talking I needed to do. They added such depth and clarity to my day and were so kind and such fun, while being straight up and honest about what I need to think about and do from here. They managed to put a smile on my face, really showing me I need to calm down, toughen up and get on with it. And breathe.
So in the end, to quote Dr Seuss ‘Today was good, today was fun, tomorrow is another one’. Somehow others sensed it, as txt messages and tweets came in about how quiet I had been all day. I’m exceptionally lucky to have a deeply caring circle of family and friends, many of whom I also share my work day with. But today, it was George and Alec who laughed with me (and at me!) and made me feel that 100% no doubt things will change and go my way…if I hold on for one more day 🙂