The significance of how our personal journeys shape who we are as educators
As we reflect on our teaching, we must also reflect on our personal journeys and what led us into education. Not just what led us into education, but our ongoing personal journeys. I believe that these personal journeys play a significant role in shaping who we are as educators.
We all have different journeys and if we are not careful, we can be biased by these journeys without being aware of it. How we teach is greatly influenced by our personal stories.
Keeping our reflective gauges on allow us to monitor our own personal journeys and to learn from these journeys as we progress through our teaching career. No matter what point we are at in our teaching careers, we have a lot to learn from our own journeys. The most effective teachers use these life experiences as a springboard to deepen their own instructional practice which more often than not enhances the learning of their students. How has your personal journey shaped who you are as an educator? How has your teaching shifted as a result of your personal journey? Thanks to http://lostinsampa.wordpress.com/tag/single-speed-fixa/ this great photo. Happy new year!
Let's always remeber to focus on the very basics of teaching
I have learned so much from Twitter over the last couple of years. There is a massive amount of content out there to improve our practice that is readily available at our fingertips if we choose to dig and look for it. We can spend an entire day, week, or even month, for that matter, reading all the resources and links that support good teaching practice in our subject area(s).
Technology is changing at a blinding pace creating further pressure to know as much as we can about this change in order to integrate technology on a deeper level in our instructional practice. Over the next year, our access to information and resources on Twitter and the internet in general will likely double or triple. All of this is great for our teaching practice.
We all want to be better educators and to know we are making a difference to our students and their learning and for this reason we connect and share. However, as we move into 2014, I think it is imperative to always remember the importance of the basics of good teaching which deal with learning environment, student-teacher relationships, and providing effective feedback. Of course knowledge of our subject area is critical, but building a solid foundation of success depends directly upon the very basics of good teaching which should never be ignored. May 2014 be your very best year of teaching yet.
I am convinced that the very best teachers all have one important thing in common. They are not only teachers, but also master learners. They are constantly learning about the environment around them. They are learning about what makes them tick, what motivates them, and inspires them to be the best educators that they can be.
At the same time, they are learning about each and every one of their students. Learning about what makes their students tick, what motivates them, and inspires them to be more engaged in the learning process. When I connect with other educators, I am always on the lookout for these master learners because it is these very people who make me the teacher I am. I learn from them and am left feeling inspired to continue making a difference to my own students and to the teachers who value the work that I share. The very best teachers are master learners. What can you learn from these teachers?
I came across Cameron Morrissey's blog the Manager's Diary earlier today and found one of his posts where he listed the top leadership quotes of 2013. The very first one struck a chord with me immediately. Here it is:
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” ~Mark Twain
How true it is. The art of good teaching not only involves being continually reflective about our own practice, we also must always be striving to make those ongoing micro-improvements to our teaching on a consistent basis. Easier said than done, yes. However, taking initiative to set goals and to learn as much as we can along the journey of reaching our goals is critical to the process of continuous improvement. In what ways are you going to improve as a teacher in 2014?
Always a Wonderful Opportunity to Share
I would like to thank Upper Canada College in Ontario for giving me the opportunity to share my teaching practice with the PYP PE teachers in the Toronto region on December 17th. When it comes to quality educational institutions, Upper Canada College is among the very best in the nation and it was a privilege to present there. The school is very lucky to have Dr. Mark Baxter leading its elementary PE program. Mark is also one of North America’s finest IB PYP PE workshop presenters.
A group of very dedicated teachers braved the cold and snow to come and listen to my presentation. I was given 2 hours to present and I admitted to participants that I found it quite challenging to narrow the message that I had in such a short time. Delivering the message required careful planning. Everyone has busy schedules, so I am grateful to have had at least 2 hours to talk about the passion that I have for teaching and learning and to share successful instructional strategies that I have used in my own program. I certainly wanted to leave teachers with ideas that resonated with them in order to help them improve their already good teaching practice.
The first part of my presentation revolved around the theme that our personal journeys play a significant role in shaping who we are as educators. It’s something that I firmly believe in and I try my best to assist educators in understanding the powerful role that reflection plays in deepening our teaching practice. Many teachers (myself included) are constantly looking for those very practical ideas that can be immediately applied in our programs, the take away, but I believe that there is great pedagogical value in looking at the bigger picture first. Once we look at the bigger picture and identify successful teaching strategies that transcend subject specific boundary lines, we are better preparing ourselves to deliver more quality lessons in PE.
We then went down to the gym for some practical hands on activities. I also demonstrated some quick and easy assessment strategies that I have used in my program. In addition I was able to take some time to talk about the Physical Education Professional Learning Community PEPLC) and show teachers how they can get involved.
It was great to meet such a dedicated group of PYP PE teachers and I wish them the very best in the remainder of this school year.
A Powerful Example of Just How Much People Care
I am always moved by the power of people coming together for a common cause and the amazing tribute that you see in the video below is a perfect example of this. Maybe I was moved in a deeper way because I lost my brother Chris this month and am now back in Canada to attend his memorial service with my family. Whatever the reason, I was tremendously moved by the tribute to Zach Sobiech.
In the video, 5000 people come together to sing a song written by Zach Sobiech, to commemorate a life well-lived and to honor the courageous battle Zach had gone through the last year of his life. Have your students watch this video to honor Zach and to show just how powerful and loving people can be when they come together for a common cause. It is absolutely worth the watch. May you and your families be blessed with good fortune this holiday season.