An unexpected journey – the prequel

This is a prequel. I wrote this as a draft a few weeks ago intending to post before my first day at Rototuna Junior High School. My first post from a new learning environment will follow shortly.

“An unexpected journey”

Well no, I have been working towards this for some time. I have long thought about ‘what is learning’ and observed the things that teachers and students do that show they don’t understand what learning is.

This is an amazing opportunity. It is an opportunity to show that by using an integrated curriculum student learning can be enhanced.

To think that I was thinking about whether I wanted to apply for this job when I have a great job already (yes, I used a spreadsheet and weighted each factor) It really is a no brainer.

“keep saying yes until someone says no” Rob Fenwick – Sir Peter Blake Awardee

Once your mind has been stretched it can never be..

“Say yes, if it it not going to kill you” Dr Michelle Dickensen @nanogirl

“If someone thinks you can do it, then you owe it to yourself and them to say yes” Jacinda Adern

Thinking about my head-space

I am a leader, motivator, early adopter, and pirate, arrrr, will I go from this state to that of feeling like a follower and a comparatively ordinary teacher? Thanks to an inspiring meeting and discussion with Gerard McManus, he reassured me that yes, at times I will be a follower, but likewise there will be times when you are the leader.

Is it possible that I subconsciously put myself into this position to force myself to work on my weaknesses?

Thinking about the space

I have prided myself on my classroom pedagogy, but now find myself challenging that. In each class I have six groups organised into six boxes organised into year level cupboards all colour co-ordinated. Are OCD traits and ILS (Innovative Learning Space) compatible?

I have made my technology room a classroom where students learn, they do design at the desks. I gather them around for demonstrations. I line them up, we check that all tools are returned. My new classroom may not have seats or whiteboards. I will use the shared spaces in the school to collaborate with other teachers. I will learn and so will my students.

I have previously believed that the technologies need to be together as by being a combined strength we have power and influence; I am happy to challenge that thinking.

Thinking about pedagogy

I have been thinking about my classroom practice where the ratio of skill development compared to student led design is about 50/50. I need to challenge that thinking so I can attain learning that is relevant, has an authentic audience, and has student voice.

The Achilles heel of outcomes is design; by working collaboratively with  other teachers we can go deeper into design and have enhanced outcomes. Examples could be working with the Science teacher to design a tool to measure the water quality in the Waikato river. Working with the English teacher to make a graphic represenatation of a story or making props for a drama. Working with the maths teacher to gather data to justify a project, or making visual aids to represent concepts. Working with the Physical Education teacher to enhance leisure.

Thinking about a possible pathway forward

I am finding my voice; I was trying to be the best that I could be – but in the present system. I will now re-assert my push for non-compromised excellence. This is a mindset that I have used in the design and make of competition furniture – remove all the qualifiers. Best furniture for time taken, best furniture for years experience. No, is it the best it could be? Could it not have been made any better bar none of materials, time,  or skills. SO what is best practice?

  • My students will work in a professional Technology lab
  • Their outcomes will be working prototypes, exactly the same as a production run, it is just that they are made in a different way.

Thinking about my goals

At the beginning of the year I set myself 10 goals. I am pleased to say that 9/10 is not too bad and hey I am blogging now!

Terry’s aspirational list of Top Ten Teaching Targets

  1. Be the best classroom teacher that I can be
  2. Inspire students
  3. Inspire teachers
  4. Lead by example
  5. Move towards my goal
  6. Use restorative practice
  7. Have a future focus
  8. Build my PLN
  9. Reflect (bike time!)
  10. Blog weekly!


Thanks for being part of my journey

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