Saturday, December 12, 2015

The best laid plans of mice and women.

The title refers to how I am feeling this morning.  I have been, as all of the staff have been and still are, busy.  The busy hasn't been over the top and not manageable but I am even more acutely aware of making the most of every minute.  My way of dealing with this is to be organised, using lists and managing my timetable.  What throws me and is when something interferes with this.
An example in point is that I have 2 anniversary tests to complete.  That's right only two.  You might say so what's the issue that would take 1hr 30 minutes out of your day.  However, the issue is the juniors are having their water and wheels day.  Which means that the child's head space would not be in the right place, and as I started to carry out the test I realised this.  Child A's group was on the water slide first and who am I to deprive Child A of this.  As teachers we can focus too much on the nuts and bolts type of things and forget about the child and really what is important and right now for them.   I will get the testing done but I will not interfere with the celebrations that the mentors have planned.
Anyhow, what I have found is that when something like this happens I tend to flap around a bit like a headless chicken, not sure what to do, where to start, so I thought that I'd write this little blog post.  What I have learnt over the years is that although I flap a bit, allowing myself to do this and have refocus time is more beneficial in the long term. I feel more calm and will be better able to focus altering my timetable.  Ordering literacy resources, checking library returns, attending the school assembly and team leaders meeting.
Thanks blogger for listening.
PS. Thanks also to my bouncy buddy for your not getting annoyed with the flapper. :)

Update From Sunny/Haily - typical late spring/early summer day
The rest of the day went well and I met my self imposed deadlines and went off for the weekend feeling relaxed.  One of colleagues was able to identify with how I was feeling and reiterated that a small amount of down time to organise your thoughts is a valuable thing.  I think it fits with the slow brain idea.  Sometimes we just need to allow ourselves down time to actually be more effective.
I'd be interested to see what you your thoughts are?

Have an awesome last week with the children and colleagues then enjoy the downtime and spending valuable time with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A week down the track

Another learning from Tony was...
  How to look at problems and find solutions.  After he talked about this I had the feeling that this wasn't the first or the second time I had heard this but my 3rd time.  And, the strange thing is that I have used this to identify solutions to problems I had in my classroom teaching and when working with colleagues.  Which goes to support Graham Nutall's theory that for learning to happen learners need to be expose to new ideas at least 3 times in 3 different ways/contexts.  So in this context I am practising what I preach.
Anyhow I digress.  The progress goes like this;
                Identify - What is Happening

               Identify -  What isn't Happening

               What am I going to do to influence what is happening.

You see in doing this you take the ownership away from the child and onto you.  This also works if you use a piece of your practise that you want to change.

An example of this would be

Children aren't reading at home

What's happening - the children are be given readers to take home to read at night
                                the children are bringing their readers back to school
                                they say they haven't read it because ....

What's not happening - I don't know if they are reading at home because I

What am I going to do - talk directly with the parents to find out if the child is or isn't reading and asking why,
                                     - explain why it is important to read everyday - re reading known books, etc
                                     - set aside some time at school to hear the child read 1 to 1 so that this reading is happening.

I think sometime it is becomes easy to point the finger at others and therefore forget that 3 fingers are pointing back at us.

Popped this in the wrong place. Immediate first thought reflection.

So much thinking, learning, curiosity, challenge, conversation and dialogue has happened over the past 54 hours. Phew!!
Tony Burkin was in the house, so to speak. He came along to share, provoke, challenge and listen to us with regard to 3 main topics. Well there were 3 for me.
The first being the mindset of a leader. What sort of leader do you want to be?
The second was on professional practice. We all know the requirements of teaching practise but how well do we know what is required of us under the heading of professional practice.
The third area was an overview on Leadership. Of all of them this was the biggie for me.
Before I continue I have a confession to make - I don't know why but I thought the person coming to speak to us was Tony Buzan - the Mindmap man. So, as you can imagine I was slightly confused and having trouble making connections for awhile till the penny dropped.
Age and stage are a cruel mix. LOL
I'm not going to share all of the enlightenment that happened for me as I do need to leave school tonight and I feel that over the next few weeks and into next year their will be ahh moments that I will share.

My first note from the third meeting/presentation has stuck with me.
To be a successful Literacy Leader I need to build relational trust with the staff. They need to understand that I am here to help them grow as individual teachers and grow the knowledge and capabilities of the whole team. However, they as individual lead their own growth I can't make it happen. It is the same principle that I had /have when teaching children.

So that's that for tonight. Watch this space for more insights into my thinking.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BPP was the intention but...

The past 2 weeks have been busy.  I have collaborated, carried out some thinking, experienced joy both at work and socially with my work colleagues,  dealt with my growth mindset (in a practical way getting over my aversion to climbing hills) and felt the tinges of curiosity, which at times I've had to stifle as I need to follow the prescribed intervention programme.

Some of the Challenges  that I have faced have been sharing my action plan with the other Senior Staff members.  Setting an Action Plan for my working life is new to me.  I had to remind myself on a number of occasions that I am a professional and I have guidelines and I can do this.  Interestingly I tried to design the plan online but it just didn't feel right so ended up using a large piece of paper and then I started to feel some success.  Please note the 2nd draft was on the computer and I even linked in other supporting documents.  Whoop! Whoop!

Sharing my Observations with the Team Leaders was a challenge however as they are so open and have wonderful Growth Mindsets that it wasn't an issue.
That's the greatest learning that I've had so far is that these people seriously practise what they preach.  They believe in the vision, and are truly supportive.

My next challenge is having to follow a prescribed intervention programme.  I really have to tell myself that this programme has been fully researched and proven to be successful.

The challenge that I face now is to spend money.  Some would say (my husband in-particular) that this is not an issue for me.  However, this is not my money and it is not for me.  I have to research, collaborate,  choose the literacy material that will be used in the school for next year and into the future.  I find this quite scary.  What if I get it wrong and purchase material that just sits on the self collecting dust.  Argghh!  

My final challenge is making sure that I keep up to date with what needs to happen.  All reading material is in the habitats, there are 12 books left to be coded into the library and 2 5yr and 1 6 yr net to finish writing up tonight.  So those are some of my challenges and as I finish writing this I realise that they are all manageable.

BPP - Beliefs, Principles and Practises or Why, What and How we do what we do. However after listening to some of my colleagues share their journey this year I think it can also stand for Beliefs, Passion and Pride.
 I'm not going to share my opinion of BPP suffice to say that it seriously makes sense and it really impacts on how and why we think/act as we do.

 Be kind to yourself

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Curve Balls

Sometimes things come up.  Some would call them opportunities.  Some would call them problems. Some would say that's just what happens and I have to go with it.
Over the years I haven't been in a position to make direct use of these curve balls for the outcome I really want for myself.  However, this year when the opportunity arose I made a decision for myself to act on it.
Many things could have gone wrong, but I looked at all hurdles or perceived problems as opportunities.  By conscientiously applying a Growth Mindset I believe I obtained the results that I need.  Now for me, this has been new learning that I have been deliberately working on for myself for about 12 to 18 months.  In the past I have been very conscious of encouraging and supporting others to apply this learning and thinking to their lives and change their habits but wasn't doing it for myself. Some would say this happens on turning 50!  While that could be true I also have to thank my daughter for sharing her Habits book with me.   A great read and it challenged my thinking and open discussion lines.  Anyhow I digress.

As I come to the end of my second week in my new role I can see that the decision I made to 'go for it' was the right one.   I'm being challenged, encouraged to think outside the square, able to share my ideas and wonderings with like minded souls and have the flexibility to focus on the now jobs and gain the sense of satisfaction from completing them.  Building success into your day or week is great for the soul.
So curve balls in life are great if you have the right attitude to the possibilities of where they my take you.