‘The more you read, the more you grow. The more you grow the more you’ll know.’
Being from the ‘Land Down Under’ I’m currently enduring winter while my Northern hemisphere mates are enjoying Summer break.
Now I’m going to be completely honest and say- yes, I am feeling a little envious. (OK, that’s not true) I am really envious of those on break, especially since they have more time to read books and are eager to share reflections about their Summer Reading List.
Oh, and I would like to add reading blogs, listening to podcasts & watching video presentations.
I keep topping up the list but I feel I will fail to ever see the bottom. Being realistic, there will always be another book to add. How do you manage to stay ahead? To prioritise your reading when the choice is so vast?
Recently there have been numerous educational pedagogy publications and currently seems to be an area of growth. I’m drawn to these reviews and find myself ordering, reading and ordering more, adding each new publication to the classics of previous years.
I only really started connecting on Twitter a little over 12 months ago.
It felt like this. Visualise huge, grand double doors being opened into another world, a world where thousands of educators are connected sharing what they are reading, learning, connecting and reflecting. This is also my number one source for the latest releases of educational related books, articles and blogs.
I'm like a kid in a candy store, wanting to taste a sample from each jar. Overwhelmed by the choice, “I'll take 1 of each please.”
Until recently I was isolated on an island in my classroom, where my growth was minimal and outside connections were few. Now with this newfound revelation, I feel the urgency to paddle hard to catch up.
Nicole Taylor (@guysbride) wrote a terrific post recently about ‘How do you feed Your Beast?’, how reading and sharing your reflections fulfil and satisfies your soul.
Before connecting and being part of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) I knew nothing of ‘Kids Deserve it’, Teach-Learn-Play or Lead like a Pirate’, ‘Shift This’, ‘Lead Right Now’, ‘Shattering the Teacher Myth’, ‘Disrupting Thinking’, ‘Wonder’ or ‘Unmapped Potential’ and that’s just the beginning of my reading list. Even before I publish this, there will be more reading to add.
Online communities, particularly Twitter keep the conversations flowing and allows reflections to continue long after you have read the last page.
I can probably safely make the assumption that most of you reading this blog (and I’m very grateful) are already avid readers, maybe book addicts with a growing reading list too.
I have an internal conflict finding balance between the part of me wanting to bolt for the gate and go for it, while the other part is pulling on the reigns, restraining me.
Reading assists me to reflect on my own practices and on myself as a teacher.
Reading provides knowledge and feeds my desire to learn, to grow as an educator. I realise change requires time or you end up being a ‘Jack of all Trades and a master of none’. It's wonderful to be reading and staying informed, but it's a waste of knowledge if not given the appropriate time to be processed, applied and reflected upon.
Joy (@joykirr) in Shift This reminds me to make the small shifts, to pace myself, you cannot shift everything at once.
We are all at different points in our journey and I must remind myself of this. I should celebrate the distance I have travelled thus far, not the distance ahead, as this can never be measured.
So, my friends enjoy whatever books are on your list.
Reading gives you wings
“It’s challenging to teach a person something new, usually because that
person has been doing what they do for so long that learning how to do it
differently is hard.”
“Oh I'm too old for that!
What does age have to do with it?
Is it sterotyped thinking, that as we get older we get very set in our ways? This is certainly not reflective of 21st century thinking and I'd like to think I'm an example of age not being a barrier to learning.
My first year of Primary Teaching began in 1989. It was only about 18 months ago however, when the journey that transformed me begun.
I had taught all grades and was currently on Kindergarten for a few years. It came to the point where I felt unsupported, exhausted, alone on an island and ready to resign. In fact, I applied for a position away from school, but it wasn’t to be.
This was my signal.
Something had to change. So, I requested a class change and went to Grade 2 the following year. I was taking leave from August until December and surely, I could endure the shorter school year.
Changing classrooms was the catalyst for my real journey. A fresh classroom, different curriculum, new team members. Well, while some of it was new, some things stayed the same. Who was willing to share my enthusiasm, to try new ideas, to deeply collaborate with me?. I desperately wanted to connect with like-minded people.
I turned to social media. I wasn’t to the point where the 3-year-old was showing grandma how to use the IPad. I could use technology but social media was a new ball game. I had Pinterest and Instagram but I needed more than pretty pictures and ideas. I started Instagram to connect with foodies, gardeners and occasionally teachers. So, I dumped the foodies, made a separate account for gardening and focused on teaching.
It took courage, then I started posting. I didn’t have a lot to share, but I eventually grew in confidence to let others into my classroom. I was opened to a whole new world and many friendships and connections since.
Next I connected to Twitter. I found #kidsdeserveit and a thriving community. These connections lead me to a whole world of new ideas, new ways of thinking.
While on leave, I was able to join in the #KDI chats. The most inspiring 30 minutes that left you invigorated for the rest of the week and pacing in anticipation for the next episode. I am part of a community who inspires, supports, collaborates, shares, questions and reflects. It is the ideal place for PD and has lead me to read many articles, blogs and literature. I have an incredible personal network and I pinch myself every day to check realty. I NEVER imagined I would learn and grown in myself and as an educator as much as I have.
I took my extended leave last year and came back fresher, more confident and ready for this year.
I have since implemented flexible seating, off loaded my teacher’s desk, given more ownership of the classroom to my students, choice in their reading and writing, coding, genius hour and global learning through class websites, Instagram and Twitter.
Yes, I sometimes wish I could go back in time and apply what I now know to save myself the anguish. All the new things I have learnt in the past 18 months has reignited my passion for teaching & my desire to best version of myself. However, my past is what lead me to be the educator I am today.
Yes, I am still learning and will continue to do so.
Age is but a number.
It’s never too late to learn, even a few tricks.