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The Lie of the Land in 2015

Started by MrsB30 18 Sep 2015 9:13am () Replies (5)

This year has opened many doors for me. I have taken on a few different roles, some new and some not. I am in my second full year of being a team leader. I lead a wonderful team of 3 teachers plus I share my classroom with another teacher - I teach R17 Monday-Wednesday and she takes them Thursday and Friday. The three other teachers in my team (we are four classes, ranging from Year 2-Year 6) all come with their own unique set of skills and passions. My teaching buddy has a set of skills that complement mine so R17 is getting a truly well-rounded journey of learning this year. 

So why do I only teach my class three days a week?

I am released every Thursday for team leader responsibilities. Sometimes this time is used for doing 'stuff' for my team. Other times it's working on projects with my fellow team leaders. At times I also release other teachers so they can work with their strategy teams. I really enjoy being a team leader. I enjoy conversing with the leadership team in our 7:30am Thursday morning meeting. I enjoy supporting my team and growing their capacities as leaders. We all take turns to lead portions of our team meeting. Last term one of my team members led our inquiry - it was her area of expertise and she did a brilliant job. Leadership in my school is about giving everyone a chance to 'lead' and allowing teachers to step up where they can. 


I lead the YOLO community. This is our logo, designed by a Year 4 student

I am released on a Friday to support the running of ICT in my school. We have an 'ICT Fix-It Form' the teachers fill in to identify any technical troubles they may be having. That's always my first port of call on a Friday. I also work alongside our IT guy, who comes in on a Friday to help me with the things I am still learning to do (imaging computers, sorting servers, typing in terminal commands...I'm hoping to get these things one day!!) One thing we set up this year was our Year 5/6 Digi Club and we have trained them to support classes with minor technical issues. I thought with me only being out once a week, teachers might not want to wait that long for the magic 'fix'. It's been slow on the uptake though - teachers still rely on me or our ICT guy to solve their problems. Reminders of 'the digi club kids can help' are dropped in to conversations regularly.

Where do my passions lie?

With all things digital. I also co-lead the Digital Collaboration strategy team and we work together to make using digital tools seamless for our staff and students. We set up 'Digi Challenges' which gives clear instructions on how to use an app or website to support learning. We coordinate the 'Blog of the Week' and classes that are announced as winners at our Monday morning assembly are given the Digi Duck and get to chose next weeks winner. It's about encouraging classes to keep their blogs up-to-date and to consider content over pretty backgrounds and whizz-bang gadgets. My strategy team colleague and I are three-quarters of the way through the Mind Lab's postgraduate certificate in digital and collaborative learning. It's been challenging going back to study and finding time to complete assignments, but I have learnt so much and it's also been a nice reminder that I am on the right track to support 21st century learners.


Blog badge sent out to our Blog of the Week winners

Through my assignments for the Mind Lab and from what I have learnt, it has helped me decide my focus for my teacher inquiry. We use the GROWTH coaching model to support one another through our inquiries. I am lucky to have been trained as a coach and I am coaching three staff members. Their inquiries range from finding ways to encourage reluctant writers to developing fine motor skills programmes for our diverse needs students. My own inquiry is around the impact of teaching growth mindset to our primary-aged students.  Our entire staff (caretaker included!) saw Carol Dweck speak about growth mindset at the beginning of the year. Her research inspired us to make growth mindset, and the language around it, a focus for our school. I have just completed a reflective presentation about how it's going and where to next as part of my Mind Lab assessments. It's really gaining momentum in our school and you will here our students talking about their 'struggles' and the things they can't do...YET!!

So the lie of the land is looking pretty good so far this year and I'm ready to see what's on the horizon for next term and 2016!



L-R: Green Light Guy and Red Light Girl remind us to think positively; Presenting growth mindset at assembly using a Star Wars reference (the force=growth mindset); a student writes about the importance of not giving up.


Also see >>> Part 2 - The Realities of Teacher Inquiry


  • JMKellow (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2015 10:04am ()

    Thank you for sharing your journey. Reflection is an important part of teacher inquiry and is what leads to real growth. Taking the next step and sharing with a wider audience is brave but has benefits for both yourself and the people you share with, a win-win situation. smiley 

    The GROWTH coaching model is a really useful one as you have found. What would you say has worked really well using this model and do you have any tips for those using the model?

    Have you seen this article about the common misunderstandings about Growth Mindset?

    I am off to read Part 2 of your journey now.

  • MrsB30 (View all users posts) 17 Dec 2015 2:59pm ()

    Thanks for sharing that article, it was a good read! What I like about the GROWTH coaching model is anyone can be a coach and you don't have to be an expert in the area of the coachee's goal. As a coach, I want to jump in and fix people's problems (especially if it's around ICT!) but this model is all about giving the coachee a voice to set their own path for achieving their goals. When being coached, the framework helps give accountability for the goals you are setting.

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2015 9:51pm ()

    Wow. What a wonderful story and thank you for sharing it. I Agree with JMKellow that what you have done is brave and it reflects how passionate you are about what you are doing as an educator and leader within your school.

    It also sounds like you work in a fantastic environment which has embraced change and empowers you to take risks, explore and question.

    I to am off to read Part 2 of your journey.

  • Mark Maddren (View all users posts) 11 Dec 2015 9:28am ()

    What a great reflection on your on going journey, I loved the innovation of the Yr 5/6 Digi Club. Often it is those tech issues that become a barrier for the teacher and students, this can also potentially be a distraction shifting your own focus from leading pedagogical change using the technology to problem solving and fixing the technology.

    Practices can be difficult to change especially when it come to visibly displaying the learning through a class blog yet again you have a great innovation with the Digi Duck. This may be something I engage with in our cluster.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this great reading, as JMKellow said I am off to read part 2 with much anticipation.

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