I have been so fortunate to have a four month break from teaching by taking one term of long service leave that led into the long summer holidays. Looking back I know I really needed the break. I learnt so much during my time off, through my PLN, but the main thing has been the time to indulge in activities that add balance to my life. Being able to go to the gym more often, starting to go bushwalking and since January 1, the participation in the 365 photo project have been so important. My participation in the project was inspired by Bud Hunt and Dean Shareski, who talked about “seeing mindfully” and “I know I shoot way better photos, look for great lighting, interesting angles and simply appreciate the world around me”. I see that happening to me too. I have started a blog, 365 Countdown, to record this.
I spent heaps of time cleaning up after years of ignoring the state of my house and not realizing how important it is to my mental wellbeing to have a clean and tidy house. I have loved getting to know about Flylady as a way of approaching managing my house and seeing how important it is not to let work get in the way of this. I know that in setting goals and ideals we often try to be really idealistic, and my children look at the clean house and the menu for the week posted on the fridge and knowingly say to each other “it won’t last”, but I feel I’m in a much better place than I have been in the past, whatever happens.
Last night I was fortunate enough to listen to a few sessions of Educon 21 and heard a discussion moderated by Chris Lehmann on “Building Systems And Structures Around What You Believe”. The description of the session is: “The myth of the single teacher, bucking the odds to be that one great teacher in a school may make for a great Hollywood movie, but it rarely -- if ever -- leads to lasting, effective change. We must examine the manner in which our schools and classrooms are set up so that the greatest number of students, teachers and even principals can thrive and learn and feel valued. This session is focused on looking at institutional change, so that attendees can explore what they value and then examine the systems in their districts, schools and classrooms that must change to reflect those values.” Chris asked: What are the values you would want to be embedded in your classroom and/or school? The collated responses are here.
It made me realize that as part of a new school (only two years old) I will have a chance to have some influence on what the values might be for the school. One of the gifts I take away from my previous school is the knowledge of the Learner profile of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. This learner profile “provides a long-term vision of education. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose.” The Learner Profile states that IB learners strive to be:
Image credit: 'Tree toss1' www.flickr.com/photos/33852245@N00/82543369