Ready for take-off
My Facebook timeline tells me that at this time last year I knew which classes I would be teaching, who would be in my class, what the programme was for every week of the year, what and when the assessments would be, I would have exemplars of what the levels of achievement would look like, what the reporting format would look like, and I would have my first weeks photocopying done! I can tell you that I am not in that happy, albeit delirious, place at the moment. Should I be worried?
Firstly, I am ready, I know I am ready; I have never been so ready. We have had ten weeks of intensive learning and planning so in terms of knowing the why and the how of ensuring that we deliver a future focussed, student at the centre, learning experience, we are certainly ready.
We have learned about, UDL (universal Design for Learning), Solo, the importance of student agency, ensuring an authentic audience, collaboration, restorative practise for students and staff, and learned how to work as part of a team.
We have the digital tools, Hapara, Google docs, and a BYOD supported environment. Furthermore, we know that these tools are a means to enable and empower us, and our students, to achieve the learning dispositions of our CLOAK as well as the aspirations of the previous paragraph.
Schools are great bastions of industrialisation where education has been systemised, compartmentalised, a place where the students have been categorised, labelised (and taught grammer!) and, unfortunately, stigmatised. In contrast, the learning and planning over the last ten weeks has allowed us to customise and personalise an education that will ensure that our students, too, are ready for their education now and in the future.
In the first week in our new school we toured the school as an entire staff; I think that it was the first time that I have ever had the entire staff of a school in my classroom. In fact I think in my previous schools there would have been many teachers who had never been in my classroom; this has been just one step in breaking down the barriers of subject silos. The teachers in the tour were clearly able to articulate their vision, and their readiness.
I am ready because I know that I have a good team working with me. We have discussed our strengths and weaknesses, we have given each other permission to pull us up on our foibles, we have discussed how we will resolve conflict, we have organised hand signals for support, we have discussed what is our core team objective so we can remain focussed. But most of all, I am looking forward to working and learning with, and from, my colleagues.
I am in a learning team with my Learning Advisory Community, which includes our Inclusive Learning Specialist. We all share an office; this is the commitment that we have to knowing and supporting the learner. I am in another two teams for my Learning Modules. LM1 has a PE – Technology focus and LM2 has a Technology – Mathematics focus. I am ready because I know the power of Three. Three teachers who will work collaboratively to ensure the work is engaging, the students’ needs are met, and that we learn, support, and challenge each other.
If I had to render my learning down to one kernel of wisdom it would be ‘place the learner at the centre’. To know this makes it seem an anachronism that we would plan in so much detail without firstly knowing the student and asking the student what they want to learn and how they best learn it, as well as asking them how they will present it, which in turn will determine the assessment. On further reflection ‘asking’ is not the right word, it will be a ‘conversation’.
So in the words of that famous 80’s band The Housemartins “Are you ready, are ready for the time of your life” stand up and bring it on 2016 @rjhsHamilton