So, I’m not sure how to keep this post from being all gushy.
And it is impossible to limit it to 3 weeks. Or 3 people for that matter. Sorry Nathaniel and the blogging challenge team. I’m breaking the ‘rules’ and not doing the set assessment task. Again.
But over the last 18 months since I really started to immerse myself in a ‘connected’ way with other educators, I have made so many valuable connections who have all shaped my ideas and thinking in some way. Some have supported me, others have challenged me, some have done both at different times. I have soared along currents of dreams and plummeted into holes of disbelief and despair. There have been several times in the last 18 months when I have seriously questioned why I am in education? What am I trying to achieve? Am I doing more harm than good? How can I ask more of already super busy people? Am I actually making the changes or am I just talking about them? How can I motivate my students to see past the exams? How can I expect them to be different in my room to suit me – do I need to change to suit them? How can I put enough time into my students and planning while maintaining the seemingly ever increasing requests for my time in other areas? I applied for a job and it didn’t feel right which was a huge turmoil…. and most important of all – how do I learn to switch off and find time for my family?
I keep coming back to a central thought – It is about people. The people, the people, the people. The people I have meet and the ideas they have shared have made such a difference.
So my big inspirations have been
Are seriously the most amazing people. No kidding. Team work, collaboration, innovation, challenging discussion and mentoring (mostly of me….) all come from this space. Special mention has to go to Matt Nicoll and Chhaya Narayan, we have worked together from the beginning. We are all quite different but all share a similar drive to share our work, be inclusive and support fellow educators. We find time when there is no time to get things done, we work together and enhance each others strengths, we vent and celebrate. It is such a privilege to work with these two people. Paula Hay was so vital to me around making career decisions this year (and her hubby makes AMAZING hot chocolates) and being a voice of calming reason while still maintaining a drive for change. And the rest of the team chips in as time allows for them, keeping us grounded, broad and accessible to many. I have said this somewhere else, but I am so humbled by the educators who join in our sessions and make #scichatNZ the community it has. You all ROCK!! And to Danielle and Karen who helped us get started, thanks for giving me/us the push.
Following on from above, it still amazes me the willingness of educators in New Zealand to share there time, stories and expertise. It rocks. Having access to this free source of professional learning has definitely changed my ideas around teaching and learning. I love reading blogs and lurking in conversations. The breadth of these conversations is important too – from early childhood to tertiary level – there are all little bits and pieces of information I have tucked away and used. While I don’t want to single too many people out because you can’t mention everyone, Philippa does need a special mention. Love, love, love her work and her blog – when I grow up I want to be like her
When I was accepted into this program I was super excited about what I would learn (and I have learned LOADS). It speaks volumes about my changing mindset that I didn’t even consider who I would meet. But the connections I have made and the people I have meet through this program have definitely been the highlight. Nikkie Laing in particular has made my year with this group – even though she teaches primary we have lots of similar thought processes when it comes to learning, and she has taught me (and shared with me) loads about inquiry learning and the techie sides of Sharepoint. Steve Martin from Howick College has terrible Dad jokes but amazing ideas around competencies and curriculum delivery. Conversation with Chris Clay always get me recharged and remotivated, as well as disruptive :). Shanne is also a Sharepoint Guru, and Ineke helped me get started on using OneNote – which has basically changed how many teachers at my school are delivering the courses and assessments. While not in education, I have learned an enormous amount about networking and facilitating from Anne Taylor. And the super amazing Arnika Brown gave me the push to apply and also deserve a mention for her unceasing support and positivity. Attending the Global educator exchange has facilitated an enormous world wide network of learning and learners for me, and I LOVE reconnecting with these educators via skype calls and webinars. I am currently collaborating with a group of them to organise a global online conference – how freaking awesome is that!!
So, I don’t know how else to title twitter chats, facebook groups, OSTA and regional Science teacher get togethers, educamps, eduIgnite evenings, conferences and teachmeets I have attended. Not to mention hashtags I have followed (I soo so so so so loved #notatulearn15 and all the tweets and tweeps that participated). So many educators sharing and debating, passionate and inspired. Many, many people contributed to this learning and I am so thankful for it. The time, effort, determination and dogged resilience of educators continues to astound me.
Cause, you know, it is about them :). They are brave, reticent, willing, nervous, confident, problem solvers, leader and workerbees. They are diverse, they keep me on my toes and make sure I am never bored. The try things, are free with feedback, laugh at my lame jokes (sometimes) and remind me that there is more to life than just school.
I am so lucky with my family. The hubby is my ROCK. So willing to go with the flow around chats and webinars, comes and watches sports teams or performances, eating endless cheese rolls, flexible with ‘oh s$%^, I forgot I had this on’ and has travelled round the country with me supporting me on conferences and trips. Our extended family are all still working hard with great passion in their chosen areas, and have taught me important values around equality and equity, empathy and being reliable and honest.
Mr 2 nearly 3 has taught me so much about myself, and what it is to learn. He has put up with Mummy being at meetings or checking e-mails, and has only completely trashed my computer once. He is always learning, always curious, always wanting to get better, playful and cheeky. And terrible. All in one super cute package.
I hope I can find a way to make sure that when he get to school, he can continue to be all those things. I am inspired by all of the passionate, caring educators out there working tirelessly to make it so.