Monthly Archives: May 2010

A plan we need. Yes, a plan, indeed !

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One of the great jobs I have at my school is to be the staff advisor to the Student Leadership Council. Student Leadership has always been, and still is, a passion of mine.  (I could easily write a whole seperate post about how I got into it and the work I have done over many years)

This Tuesday, I had the Student Leadership Council present their action plans to our principal team for their feedback and approval. This gave them a real audience to present in front of and a purpose in getting their plans completed.

These plans have been almost a month in the making. They commenced work on them at our Training Day earlier this year and they have worked on them during  our subsequent meetings back at school.

I had organised catering in recognition of the lunchtimes they were giving up. I discussed their their plans with them. I asked them questions about how the event would unfold and what it would look. I was critical in an attempt to get them to think clearly about what their event or proposed action would look like and ensure they had all bases covered. 

So, I informed them that next week both our principal and assistant principal would be present at the our next meeting. Their plans would need to be completed in their own time.

I informed them of times I was available to provide assistance and answer questions.

…despite doing all this, I knew that none of them would have their plans ready for the following week.

And so – a week goes by. All of the students in our student council are in Grade 5 &6. As one of the 5\6 teachers, we meet together with our students at the beginning of the school day to address them as a section. I reminded them of today’s meeting and how they would be required to present their plans.

The expressions on most of their faces confirmed my earlier prediction.

I cross paths with some of the students throughout the day and observe them frantically working away at their plans during recess. Another 5\6 teacher tells me how two students raced through her work in order to get time in class to finish off their plans.

Lunchtime arrives and our meeting is called to order. I inform them that both the Principal and Assistant Principal are running late and recommend that they use the time to practice the presentations in front of the other students.

And so, each group fumbled their way through their presentations.

And at the the end of each presentation I ask the question:

“You wern’t prepared to present today, were you ?”
“No”

After all  teams have presented, I discuss their plans and their lack of preperation with them.  We talk about how if I as a teacher arrived at a class unprepared how that would impact on others.

I let them in on my secret. I tell them that the Prin and the AP arn’t coming and that they have an extra week to prepare.

I have also asked for them to reflect on their experience at presenting their plans at our next meeting.  I hope they will learn from experience and arrive prepared. 🙂

Start

start

I have been hesitant in writing a blog. I don’t really enjoy the process of writing (just look at how long it takes me to write my student reports each semester). I already do enough writing at work that the thought of writing a blog seemed like “doing something extra” on the already never ending pile of work teachers seem to have.

Add to this the fear of putting my opinions out there in the public domain to be viewed and commented on. Just who exactly would be interested in what I have to say ? And if anyone did actually read what I had to say, would they like it ?

The issue of confidentiality and privacy also concerned me; just how much can you say about your school, your class, your students or your colleagues without it becoming personal ?

It all seemed too hard. So what changed ?

As an educator, I continue to ask questions to improve my professional practice. I continue to seek out new and innovative ways to engage my students and to explore concepts in different ways. Thanks to Web 2.0 technologies, I am no longer confined to the professional knowledge that lies within the walls of the staffroom at my school or the professional learning opportunities I am able to access. I subscribe to many blogs and follow other educators on Twitter. I have joined Nings and Wikis and participate in online virtual conferences. I have created online networks for my students to access learning resources and to communicate with me that isn’t always possible in the classroom environment.

I am connected to a wider audience of professionals who share their knowledge and their experiences and for that, I am a richer person.

As I continue to become involved with more exciting projects and initiatives in education, I wanted a space to record my thoughts, my actions and the lessons I had learnt along the way. I wanted to ask questions and seek answers and opinions from a global audience.

I wanted to take that next step from being a passive recipient of learning to someone who was an active participant.

With this in mind, I bring you my first blog post. My story starts here.