Tag Archives: #youredustory

How will you make the world a better place?

Close friends and long time readers of this blog will know that Student Voice and Student Leadership is a passion of mine.

Most schools have some form of student body; be it a student representative council, student leadership council, a junior school council, a student congress, student voice – the names for these organizations are varied, but ultimately, there is a group that represents student within the school.

But… Why is such a having a student council important ? And what sort of things should we be working on ? I mean, we raise money and stuff, but how can we move to that next level ?

By having a student council within your school, you can draw upon their knowledge which will ultimately lead to better decision making.

At a global level, this is recognised through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, with Article 12 stating that a child should be given an opportunity to express their viewpoint. That age should not be a barrier in their participation in matters they have a degree of understanding and comprehension over.

But more locally….. Often there are things that students know about the school that teachers and parents just are unaware of. By involving all stakeholders, it ensures that all viewpoints are heard and in turn leads to more informed decision making.

By involving students in how decisions are made, it provides them an understanding and point of reference when wanting to be active citizens beyond the school context. Research also suggests that schools who involve students in decision making, will in turn, have improvements in student learning.

By having a student council, you will improve relationships and connections between staff, students and the broader community

For me though, the reasons behind having a student council are somewhat more personal. I have been involved in student leadership since I was in Grade 5 in 1993. I continued to be involved in student council throughout my time and secondary school and once commencing my teaching career, I quickly took on the role of SRC Teacher Advisor.

Had it not have been for some great teachers who saw student councils as something important; who gave their time freely to support what we were doing; who coached, mentored and guided me through the process,  I would not be the person I am today.

Images from author’s collection.

It is my hope that I can provide the same opportunities for my students. That I can pay forward the experiences and the lessons I have learned.

The road to a Victorian Junior School Council

It is with this in mind that one project I would love to establish would be a  state wide Junior School Council for primary school students.

Within my role with the Victorian Institute of SRC Teacher Advisers Inc. I volunteer as a supporter with the Victorian Student Representative Council. I am excited that they are considering a primary school networking event in 2015 to explore the appetite from schools and the possibility of such an organisation existing.

 

A colleague and friend of mine recently said that “too often in life we place our own obstacles in the way of our dreams, be it excuses, time, etc…I say to you, no more!  Take that great idea, challenge, relationship, learning that you should do and “just do it”.  The world needs dreamers and doers and the best is the combination of both.” 

I look forward to being part of the team that turns this dream of mine into a reality. I hope to share the journey of this exciting adventure with you through my blog.

Image generated author.

Image generated by author.

This post is the second in a series as part of the #youredustory challenge. For more information visit their website.

The word that will inspire me in 2015

The word that will inspire me in 2015 is

Relationships

Professional Relationships

I am changing schools yet again in 2015. I’m teaching Grade 2 for three days a week (something new for me) and will be sharing the class with another teacher (something new for me) so I can work on my role. Part of this will be leading the introduction of online assessment and reporting using Compass, using data to inform teaching and learning and supporting staff and students in their use of ICT.

In a previous post, I talked about advice I would offer teachers new to the role of ICT co-ordinator. and focused on the need to understand ‘where things are at’.

As a classroom teacher, this will involve getting to know each of the students in my class; their interests, their strengths, their weaknesses, their hopes and dreams for the future. I will need to build relationships with their parents as partners in their child’s learning. I will need to build a positive working relationship with my co-teaching partner so together we can achieve the best for the students in our care.

As a school leader, I will need to build relationships with the rest of the staff. Understand their experience, their beliefs, their needs and desires, their professional goals and what they each need from me. I need to make time to work with them, to celebrate their successes and set goals for continuous improvement. I will need to build relationships with those in nearby schools and beyond so I can draw on their expertise and experience to help shape and guide my own.

Personal Relationships

I also need to work on building a better relationship with myself. I touched on in a previous post about how tired and burnt out I felt at the end of the year. Too often I let ‘professional me‘ take over ‘personal me‘ and things like exercise and eating well are always the first to drop off. I need to remember that these are just as important and help me to function at my best.

I need to remember the personal relationships with friends and family and ensure that I make time to connect with them.

Whilst I love education, I also need to remember that this should not be the sole things that defines me as a person. In his book In his book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey talks about the need to “sharpen the saw“. I need to develop other interests outside of this field and engage in activities that contribute to a work\life balance. I am excited to be working closer to home this year and using time that would have previously been spent travelling to explore and search for other interests.

Restart

"Sleep + Restart + Shut Down" by Acid Pix. Used under a Creative Commons 2.0 Licence

“Sleep + Restart + Shut Down” by Acid Pix. Used under a Creative Commons 2.0 Licence

I had noticed a few posts recently in my Twitter feed from respected and valued people in my PLN (@ccoffa, @medg56 and @hbailie) who in an attempt to revitalise their blogging had signed up for the  #youredustory challenge.

It was interesting to read the reasons why each of them had signed up for the challenge. In considering whether or not to sign up I thought I should first reflect on why I had neglected my own blog for so long.

So, why don’t I blog?

When I created my blog, I wanted to use it as a vehicle for recording, reflecting and sharing with others. Even back then I was hesitant about the whole process.

So much (everything) we do in education is about people. What I often want to reflect on and write about relates to people and the challenges and issues I face with them. I would love to get some insight from others in how they too deal with similar situations but writing up the latest issue I had with a difficult student or a colleague who didn’t share my vision for where I thought we should be heading didn’t seem appropriate to publish in a public forum. People know where I work (or could very easily find out) and I was concerned how this would reflect on the school and also on me as a professional.

Personally, I’ve also been really tired and unmotivated. Travelling back and forth takes it out of you and there are only so many hours in the day for what needs to get done. In writing that sentence I realise it makes me sound lazy and I can hear all that positive motivational talk inside my head about having just as many hours in the day as everyone else, and saying no to things and organising what my real priorities are… It never ceased to amaze me how these incredible people in my PLN were doing all these amazing and innovative things and here I was trying to keep on top of everything I needed to do. 

Blogging was also something that I already found hard. I tend to be a slow and considered writer and it takes me ages to organise my thoughts into something logical. Many of my posts would sit there as drafts and would either go unfinished or no longer be relevant by the time I was ready to publish them. (I am already struggling to write this piece. It’s taken me several hours and I keep going back and re-reading and making changes and even considered deleting the whole post all together) Pushing blogging aside was an easy thing to do.

I usually like to take the time to reflect at the end of the year and look at what I’ve achieved and where I want to head to next. I’ve always been one to do my vision board and map out my goals but this year I’ve put this off because I really wasn’t in a positive frame of mind and wasn’t quite sure of where to next. 

In reading the information about the challenge, this stood out for me:

I have been blogging for the past two years and I struggle with feeling like I need to blog more, share more, and show more of my struggle.

So, In undertaking the #youredustory challenge I will not only try to blog more but share more of my story and my struggle.