Yesterday, our school had a Professional Development Day to start off the term. It was about Restorative Practices and led by a mediator and educator, Pat Marshall. She spoke about ways we can approach conflict with students and parents in a way that enhances relationships in the long term. Pat started out by reminding us that as educators we are people of influence, able to build up and also able to pull down. Of course this was not new to us. It’s what educators are crucially aware of. In the environment where the Australian government is talking about merit based pay for teachers based on students’ results, it seems all the more important to remember that we cannot always know what influence we have had for good unless we are incredible lucky. And because the session with Pat brought about the event that I am about to write on I am grateful to her. In the spirit of the “Sunscreen Song” which advises graduates of ’97 to “Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults,” I was very pleased to have a colleague come up to me, one who was coincidently the mother of one of my former students. She told me that her daughter, now doing Graphic Design at Monash Uni, was engaged in a project to design a DVD cover for a modern film of Macbeth. As she was doing this she remembered her study of Macbeth in my class some years before. And she told her mother what warm feelings she still had about her experience. How lucky was I to hear about this. So much of our work is in planting seeds.
And a few more seeds were planted today with my year sevens who have started to blog for the first time. If you would like go over a visit them here, and leave a comment or two. They (and I) will appreciate it very much. My thanks must also go to the talented and committed James Farmer who has set up Edublogs which teachers can use for free. Students really like the interface and what they can do with it. James also has Edublogs Premium which is a service that comes at a charge. I am using Edublogs Premium for my Year 9 blogs to try it out. So far I really like it.