Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#FOMO led me to join #28daysofwriting

If you started your teaching career at HPSS and then moved
somewhere else. (Yes I drew this terrible cartoon). 

#28daysofwriting  - I think it was Tom Barett (my edu crush of 2014) who made this particular blogging challenge go a bit viral. It means you write for 28 minutes a day, every day, for 28 days. Of course prolific blogger Steve Mouldey signed up. And so did Ros, Kimberley and a few others people that I really admire on the education scene. So of course, what should happen but #FOMO, fear of missing out. Particularly as I know how powerful reflecting on a regular basis is. Without question, I believe that a big part of the positive shifts in grades in my university assignments has been due to my blogging and tweeting activity. And also, because I know that every day at Hobsonville Point is the equivalent of a week in any other school. Such unusual phenomena should be documented if you ask me! As I sat in the audience at our first prize giving as a school last year, I rather wanted to kick myself for not documenting my thinking to a greater extent. Being part of a foundation staff in a school that is pushing so many boundaries, in so many ways, working with so many inspirational educators has meant an enormous learning curve. I sincerely wish I had posted every day so that I could have gone back this year and worked through my thoughts. So, I might be a few days late, but better late than never. It's for this reason that Steve Mouldey and I had a serious (or as serious as Steve gets) conversation with one of our new teachers here at Hobsonville about joining the challenge.

Imagine, that as a beginning teacher, your very first job ever, was at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. How might this influence what you come to believe about how education works? What would you believe about the purpose of education in New Zealand? How might you interpret the New Zealand Curriculum? What would you believe about the role of collaboration in schools between teachers? What would you believe about pastoral care? For one thing, you would throw a serious tantrum when presented with a scheme of work. I mean seriously, how can you know that in week four of term three, your students will need to learn how to simplify and solve for x? What if some students are still struggling with fractions? Do you just ignore that and move on to decimals anyways because that is what the scheme of work says? How is that meeting the needs of our students? How does that teach students to have a growth mindset? Never mind mastery, lets just move on. Never mind practicing until you get something, or learning to apply something. We have to move on. Our curriculum explicitly highlights that we are attempting to create life long learners, yet, if we do not provide students with a chance for mastery, what messages do we really send?

Again, a beginning teacher at Hobsonville Point might be forgiven for thinking that teachers naturally collaborate. Without question, I have collaborated with many others in my past school. However, at Hobsonville Point, despite being a science and maths specialist, I have thus far worked with social sciences and health and physical education the most. This is a long cry from a faculty office, and even further removed from a past school where I used to avoid the staff room altogether for fear of conversations about how terrible colleagues in the school are. Just this week alone we have seen some exciting connections come to life between chemistry and the Treaty of Waitangi thanks to the cross school collaborations!

Wow 28 minutes goes fast. Especially if you add in the time to draw a terrible cartoon. But this challenge is about creativity. So I'm attempting not to judge my rambling thoughts or bad drawings. Instead, I am thinking of this as practice for writing every day. Since I also signed up to start my masters this year. 2015 is going to be busy.

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