Friday, 6 February 2015

Celebrate the Small Gains - part 2 and a Cry for Help

A couple of days ago my I wrote about celebrating the small gains as well as the big wins. I was so excited about the little things that went well and that helped me to continue to build learning relationships with all my new classes. But guess what, as I write this blog the only thing I remember is that I wanted to write a part 2 but the actual events I wanted to write about is something I can't remember. All I have is the feeling from the lesson that something progressed instead of staying the same and that something, in isolation, could easily be overlooked. I am someone who looks for the positive in my lessons, some days I'm just better at it than others.

Today was one of those days when I could have easily not found any small gains. I felt like I couldn't take a trick and my students were the ones who suffered. My challenge is with the Foundation 9's. I am intent of providing tasks and experiences that meet their learning needs but I find myself feeling disorganised and inadequate at times. Every lesson I try something else and I learn a little more but I feel I'm learning something that others who have taught these students already know. It's time to get a bit of help.

I'm new at this school and knowing where to get the help takes time. So today I opened up to a couple of key people. The first one I spoke to just asked politely over lunch how I was going. I'd already sussed out that this person was probably in sync with some of my philosophies just from a few conversations we'd already had so I gave it a go. I just said to her that I felt disorganised and a little frustrated. She seemed a little surprised but prompted me to explain why I felt disorganised. This set me back a bit because instead of the usual nod and a pat on the back to keep going she poked and prodded something that must have seemed to her had some layers that needed unpacking. I can't tell you how much I appreciated her engaging in this conversation with me.

For the past 5 years I have worked at a school where collaboration was the norm. Now I don't have a team to collaborate with yet. If a school doesn't have this as part of its culture for staff then a newcomer will find it difficult to know where to get the help. This isn't something that just happens and teachers need school structures that enable collaboration. I miss the richness of the conversation about learning that you get when you talk to the people who also teach your kids and who also teach your subject. I'm just going to have to find my teams and my key people and maybe, while I'm here I can show the way and encourage others of the value of collaboration. My colleague has invited me to work with her team so that will be my first step.

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