Lessons learned over the past year
Wow, over a year already since PEPLC was created! As one of the main organizers of the PEPLC network, I must say that I have learned a ton about what being a part of a professional learning community is all about. Nathan Horne, Kelly Ann Parry and myself had only the very best of intentions when originally setting up the network.
It took a ton of energy, work, and effort to get things going and was a very rewarding experience bringing educators together from around the world to help them grow professionally. It was always about setting our own professional growth goals and collaborating together with a team of like-minded practitioners to help reach these goals. What was more amazing was to sit and watch all of the Google Hangouts taking place and to listen to all of great things being shared.
Redefining What PEPLC Means
As I look back on the year, I have learned a number of things from the PEPLC experience. Firstly, the pressure to join PEPLC and be a part of it must come from within each and every educator involved in the network. Nobody can or should force anyone to do anything that they are hesitant about. PEPLC is not for everyone, this is a fact. Some educators prefer learning face-to-face and creating their own networks where teachers meet in person. This type of learning is just as valuable and effective and was always the way things have been done in the past.
PEPLC has gone quiet, but to me this does not indicate that great things haven't happened. When I look at the great work of Naomi Hartl, Adam Howell, and Matthew Pomeroy, I am amazed. Although they were never on a PEPLC team together, they took charge of their own learning, set goals, shared resources, and created a number of Google Hangouts streamed live that taught our #Physed community about Google Scripts. As well, there were a number of other PEPLC teams that found success in the process of coming together online to share and learn from one another.
Looking back, I now realize that PEPLC served a purpose to bring educators together to have discussions about the importance of improving the overall quality of teaching and learning in PE. Although some educators stuck to their own teams, others branched out across teams and formed their own PEPLC discussion groups. This also exemplified great learning in action.
Where is PEPLC Headed Now?
Simply put, PEPLC is about taking charge of your own learning as an educator and finding the best ways to grow professionally. If you are seeking out educators and collaborating with them online, this is the heart and essence of what PEPLC was always about. There is a PEPLC group in the middle east being led by a great physical educator named Osama Abu Jafar. Osama is bringing educators together in that region to team up and embark on their own professional growth journeys. These teams will collaborate online and use Google Hangout as their main tool for communication.
I am looking forward to seeing where their learning takes them and will help them out in whatever ways I can. I will offer them advice based upon the major lessons I have learned over the past year in regards to PEPLC. The potential to come together and learn is enormous. I wish these groups the best of luck and hope that they share all of their learning using the #PEPLC and #physed hashtags. And to any other educators reading this who have been involved in the PEPLC network, keep learning, growing, and sharing in whatever ways suit you best!
Inspiring others to take action is the greatest gift of all
Ideas alone don’t change our world for the better. Ideas that inspire action do.
I first came across the work of Simon Sinek a couple of years ago and was immediately drawn to it. His main message always revolves around inspiring others to take action in order to make the world a better place. I blogged about his work about a year ago, but recently a good friend of mine, Marina Gijzen, sent me a Sinek article to check out. Marina is a great educator and is moving into an administrative role next school year after 26 years of teaching in the classroom. Marina and I are always talking about books that we read and ideas that stick with us. Often times, these ideas spring from books outside the realm of education, but are so easily applicable to our lives as educators.
The more I reflect on my role as a physical educator, the more I believe that it is my responsibility to inspire my students to take action to lead healthier lives (physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially). I often get asked by teachers in the workshops that I lead and even by my colleagues at work how I find the time and energy to maintain my website and blog. In my eyes, the answer is quite simple. The act of blogging and documenting my own teaching and learning journey inspires me to continually improve upon what I do. I find so much inspiration in sharing my work.
Every once in a while, I’ll receive an email or 2 from educators around the world letting me know that they find value in what I share. This is the greatest reward that I could ask for. Knowing that my work is reaching other teachers and that they are putting into practice some of my teaching and assessment ideas inspires me to continue sharing, especially considering that it is their students who benefit the most.
There are so many great educators that have inspired me to be better at what I do and it wouldn’t be possible if they did not share their work so willingly. To these wonderful teachers, the act of giving is the greatest gift of all and inspires them to continue growing every day. The world I choose to imagine is a caring place where young people should be given every opportunity to thrive and to succeed. This is made even more possible when educators generously give to one another. Thanks for reading!
Much of what I choose to read teaches ideas and strategies that help to create more self-discipline within our personal and professional lives. Through greater self-discipline, we are able to take more consistent action and ownership over the direction that we want our learning to go. This requires goal setting, finding literature that supports our goals, and to visualize what success looks and feels like.
For me success as an educator revolves around fostering courage, power, inspiration, and harmony within our students, but also within ourselves. Finding that harmonious place where great teaching happens is often challenging yet a very rewarding journey to embark upon. When we set upon this course of action only good things will result in both our personal and professional lives. A great quote that sums up this idea can be found below:
Day by day, you gain momentum, your inspiration deepens, your plans crystalize and you gain a better understanding. You are inspired by a new force.
When I prepare to present workshops and presentations, my underlining theme is always one that encourages educators to take action and initiative in setting their own professional growth goals. This requires tapping into whatever resources that exist to help us grow and learn and be able to work toward our goals. The quote above holds so much truth. Though the journey is not easy persevering will no doubt bring forth the desirable conditions in which we want to teach (and learn!). Thanks for reading.
I have followed Craig Kemp on Twitter for quite some time now. He is passionate about what he does and believes strongly in the power of professional learning networks. Although we have never met in person, I respect the work he does and asked him to do a L.I.F.E reflection for my blog. Craig is a very reflective teacher and recently wrote up a great blog post on critical reflection here a few weeks ago. Thanks to Craig for taking the time to send me your L.I.F.E reflection!
A Bit About Craig Kemp
Craig Kemp is an international educator with over 10 years experience. He is currently the Head of ICT & Learning Innovations at an international school in Singapore.
Craig has a wealth of leadership experience both in New Zealand and Singapore as lead teacher, syndicate leader, ICT lead and assistant principal to name a few.Craig's passion lies in making change within educational organisations with particular successes in the field of technology.
He enjoys presenting at conferences and learning from others. Craig is an active and highly valued twitter user (@mrkempnz) and he loves to blog (http://mrkempreflects.blogspot.com).
Craig is in his final year of a post graduate diploma in educational leadership and administration. In addition to this Craig is involved in twitter chats, he co-founded #whatisschool (every Thursday evening 7pm EST) which focuses on creating an unbiased forum where teachers can have voice in shaping the future by sharing their ideas, experiences and recommendations with other educators and interested persons around the world.
He also enjoys using technology to enhance student learning and shares his unique experiences on his blog (http://mrkempreflects.blogspot.com)
Craig's L.I.F.E Reflection
Thinking about your choices
I'm a huge fan of Seth Godin, his blog, and the books he has written. So much value wrapped up in each of the books that he has published over the last decade. Although applicable to mostly business, there are a plethora of ideas that are immediately applicable in education. The ability to connect and tap into a world of greatness now exists at our fingertips if we choose to look for it. No longer do huge organizations control the means to our success. No longer is our success dependent on what these organizations provide us with.
As educators, we are often required to apply for professional development, justify why we feel as though this PD is relevant to us, then wait to see whether or not we have been approved. We create our own success by taking initiative and accepting that we have the power to grow exponentially when we set our minds to it. If you want it, you will find it, I promise!
I love what Seth writes on page 33 of his book Linchpin. He says that this is the new dream that markets are embracing around the world. How true it is for teachers as well in the pursuit of mastery and excellence. Thanks for reading!
Serving Others and Making a Difference
I blogged yesterday about the amazing Luca Patuelli and his "No Excuses, No Limits" approach to life. After posting the blog, I went to Luca's website and found a Tweet that he had sent out which included a link to a 26-minute You Tube video of a moving commencement speech that Jim Carey gave a few weeks ago to the graduating class at Maharishi University of Management.
If you have a full 26 minutes to spare, I highly recommend watching Jim's entire commencement
speech. It is packed with real life advice about overcoming obstacles and struggles. He shares his
wisdom and encourages all of the graduates to find their passion. The way in which he intertwines
comic relief along with genuine insight and wisdom is truly his gift to the world. One of the quotes
that I want to share with you is powerful and holds so much truth for people in general but even
more so for educators and the difference that they can make.
How will you serve the world, what do they need that your talent can provide? That's all you have to figure out. The effect that you have on others is the most valuable currency that there is.
When I read the quote, I cannot help but think about the powerful role that educators play in the lives of the young people they teach. Shaping their future and providing them with the skills necessary to succeed is what our jobs are all about. So, as you read this blog, think about the talents that you have and how you share these gifts with the students under your care and guidance. Think about the difference you are making in their lives even on those tough days that we all face as teachers. Thanks for reading and I hope you find some value in watching Jim Carey's commencement speech.
No Excuses, No Limits
One of the things that I enjoy most in life is finding those little treasures of inspiration that help to keep me going, especially on days when motivation may be lacking. Teaching can be a particularly difficult profession at times because day in and day out, we need to be present and mindful for our students in order to provide them with the very best learning experiences possible. Remaining motivated requires us to dig deep at times in order to keep the fire going in our jobs and personal lives.
To help combat those inevitable times of low motivation I love seeking out inspiring stories, quotes, photos, poems, books, and whatever else I can find that continue to help fuel the passion that I have for teaching and learning. I''m not afraid to admit that finding inspiration plays a pivotal role in shaping me as a teacher and a person. I'm making it a goal to share more of the inspirational treasures that I find, on my blog, in hopes that it helps others who may need a shot of motivation from time to time. I don't expect everyone to be moved by the same things that I am moved by, but hopefully if you dig around on my blog a bit, you'll find a gem or two that resonate with you.
Today's shot of inspiration for me was finding a video of an amazing 30-year old dancer/performer who we can learn so much from. His name is Luca Patuelli and he is from Montreal, Canada. Watch the video below to learn more about him and the motto in which he lives by, "No Excuses, No Limits". A very powerful video that you should share with all of your students regardless of age. Luca's life lesson is an important message for all of us. Thanks for reading!
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.