I joined twitter in December 2012 but didn’t begin using this fabulous learning tool for quite a while. I’m not sure when I first began tweeting as such but I’m going to say that in the last two years of engaging with it I haven’t looked back. This year I began seeing lots of posts regarding #oneword2016 and decided to come on board. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and the very first word that came to mind was MORE. I thought about it wondering why this particular word but then it came to me – it wasn’t ‘more’ I wanted, it was to go further.
I want to go… ‘FURTHER’ this year. It’s not that I haven’t accomplished enough in 2015 but rather, I began many things and now I just want to take them ‘further‘. See? Not ‘more’ but ‘further’; additional to what already exists or has already taken place, been done, or been accounted for..
So, here are my hopes for furthering my professional life 2016 in no particular order:
1. The PhD
In 2015 I changed the direction slightly for my PhD study, mainly methodology related not topic as such. This meant I had to seek out a new main supervisor. I was well supported in this task by the out-going supervisor and have not looked back. My current supervisors are very supportive and don’t pull any punches -they tell it how it is and I really appreciate this. It makes the positives so much more satisfying and funnily enough gets me really motivated to attend to the not so good bits with gusto. This year I’m working towards my confirmation – a 20 min presentation of my proposal and 10,000 word document of the first milestone. Last year I also signed up for The Thesis Whisperer’s MOOC course “How to survive your PhD” via EdX and ANU. It was a great experience and the hashtag lives on with many still posting on twitter and taking part in my monthly tweet chat #survivephd15. This year I can’t wait to get into the actual process of data collection and disrupting the status quo…going further.
2. Me as learner and teacher
I have always enjoyed my time in the classroom with students. When I first resigned my full time leadership position in school I very much missed the students most. I quickly made moves to get back into the classroom while still following my dream of being a full time education consultant. I was told it was a gusty move coming out of school but I’m big on risk taking and learn from my mistakes. I really believe in F-A-I-L being the First Attempt In Learning.
I love learning and teaching and the idea of being a CRT or a short-term contract teacher doesn’t phase me. I work really hard to get to know my students even if it’s only for a short time – from 45 mins to a term or two – it’s worth it and you know you’ve been successful because the students aren’t afraid to tell you so. It makes learning and teaching so worthwhile and so much easier and fulfilling. I will be exploring the possibilities further in 2016 both in schools and in adult education. (Note to self – send emails to daily organisers re: CRT availability in 2016).
3. My coaching model
Last year (it’s weird saying it already) I was asked to work with a small team and develop a made to order coaching model for staff. It was a challenging task but we were determined to come up with something that would tick as many boxes as possible. The proposal was accepted and we are currently in the process of further developing the model. Late last year (there it is again) I facilitated the first of the training sessions for the self-nominated coaches. This year we will be taking it further…Finding out how we work, learning and teaching and developing ‘our’ model using the framework as the foundation.
My PhD study is about relationships, collaboration and optimal learning environments. I will be investigating how it works when teachers and learning support officers become the researchers and work collaboratively to meet the needs of students with disabilities. My advocacy stems from my own experience of school and the difficulties of learning a new language. Last year I spent two terms as head of the Special Education unit in a Catholic Secondary college. During my time there I reflected on what I was learning and feeling on this blog. While personally I found it rewarding, I also saw many things that made me mad. My whole purpose for coming out of a full time position in a school was to spread the message that everyone deserves to be taught how they learn no matter where they start. I spend much time travelling to different schools, primary and secondary to facilitate workshops on learning in particular focusing of differentiation and modification and on working with students with disabilities funded and non-funded. My most popular workshop runs regularly through Critical Agendas on “Practical Strategies for Teaching Non-Funded Students with Special Needs.” I would like to spread the message even further this year…
“I believe everyone learns in their own special way, we must endeavour to find what this is and then facilitate the learning using strategies that support these preferences”.
5. Teaching the teacher
This last one is related to all of the above. All teachers must be learners first. My PhD is about me as a learner and how I can go further as such. I want to make a difference. I want to see every student learn and teach at their own pace, in their own time. I want every student to have teachers who really know and understand how they learn and assist each of them in that learning. As a learner and teacher it is always exciting being in a school, to have the opportunity to work with students and colleagues. I like to assist in making learning ‘fun’, engaging, challenging and to help it last forever. I love running workshops for teachers and to facilitate collaborative structures where teachers learn and teach other teachers. My coaching model is supported by the motto ‘teacher as learner’ first.
My wish for 2016 is that I can go further but more importantly that as I go so it is that I am not alone, too far ahead or even too far behind. Will you take up the challenge with me? Are you willing to go … further?
Thanks for reading 🙂