Sunday, 3 February 2013

A little guilt and a lot of gifts!

     Don't you just hate guilt? Whenever I think of writing a post I manage to find other things to do, much like writing report cards. But over the past few days I have begun to feel the desire to share, to record my reflections and to say "thank you".

     As I  reflect on my year to date, one thing is abundantly clear, this year is a gift. One of those years that come along every once in awhile that reaffirm your beliefs and make you feel really, really good about teaching.

      Last year was spent finding my new teaching self. I was discovering so many new ways of doing business and letting go of so many of my practices that I felt like I was running a marathon all year!! I was experimenting with technology, finding how it was going was going to "fit" into my classroom and questioning the very core of my teaching practice. I began to question all of the things I had always done. I had a more teacher centered classroom, and I was "teaching" many things that I didn't value in order to mesh with others in my school. Things like handwriting and spelling and whole class novel studies.Although I had worked hard to become familiar with best practice expectations I wasn't satisfied. I used a manipulative based Numeracy program and taught explicitly through Writing programs and loved the clear way to teach meta-cognitive strategies in Reading that Adrienne Gear so thoroughly laid out. But something was missing. I believe what was missing was keeping all of my decisions student centered. While last year was hectic and crazy, this year is busy but calm. I feel confident that the decisions I make are made with the students at the center, with their best interested in mind and I no longer seek the approval of others within my school. It's no longer about me or what is best for me but rather, it is about my students, I am there for them. To guide them, to encourage them, to foster a love of learning, to not give answers but encourage inquiry, to mentor them in all that we do and to share with them my passion for learning and teaching.

     I believe that I have been given several gifts this year:

*The first gift was an opportunity to loop 14 of my grade 3's into grade 4. They are an exceptionally eager, passionate and "wonder"filled class. Any teacher would be blessed to work with them.

 *My second gift is the friends and mentors that I have made both within my district, through the Innovative Designs in Learning grant, the inspiring technology dinner series and Movers and Shakers Inquiry days, and abroad, through global projects, such as Flat Class, Projects by Jen, Mystery Skypers, The Travelling Rhino Project, Global Read Aloud, Genius Hour and of course through Twitter.

*My third gift was the unwavering support of my administration, who is always willing to find the ways and means to make most of my technology dreams come true!

     However, the gift that has made the greatest impact on my ability to provide an inquiry based curriculum to my students is the support I received from the Educational Services Department in Surrey. They were able to make my dreams of an inquiry based, technology driven classroom come true. I will be forever grateful for their belief in my ideas and the unparalleled opportunity that was given to my students through their generosity.

I am blessed. I can't imagine teaching any other way! It feels right, my students love coming to school, I love going to my classroom, I love inquiring about new ways to meet their needs and I love being inspired by their passion.
If you are interested in checking out some of things we've been up to please click here to go to our class blog.

Recording questions!

Investigating!


Mystery Skyping!


                                                                                                Discovering through Wonderopolis!

Books and iPads together!

                                                                              Providing visual aids to non-English speaking students.

Our principal has attended all of our Skype sessions!


6 comments:

  1. I love everything that you've been doing, but most of all I love the changes you are making because of your personal reflections. I don't know if I've ever works so hard as a teacher and loved it as much as I do. My kidlets, like I'm sure yours too, continue to surprise me each and every day. This post totally made me smile. Thank you for that. Karen

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement Karen!

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  2. Robyn,
    I'm so glad you know you are so blessed. With supportive friends and administration, you can't go wrong. If you know in your heart you are teaching your students as best you can, that's all you can hope for. Keep it up, and keep sharing your ideas so others can jump on board! Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks so much Joy. I appreciate all the new connections I have made and I am becoming more comfortable sharing my reflections.

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  3. Robyn,

    Good for you! You should not feel any guilt! You have worked hard to find yourself as a teacher again. Reflection is hard hard work. Trying new things isn't easy, so kudos to you. You have worked tirelessly for your students and what you believe to be best practise as a teacher in today's world. As a result, it is paying off for you - engaged, happy students who are doing things you probably didn't even think was in the realm of possibilities even 3 years ago. What you have done in the past two years takes time, passion, love, reflection, perseverance, dedication, determination, and belief. Guilt plays no roll in it. Continue to enjoy this year and all that remains as possibilities in your and your student's learning. I look forward to reading more about your journey.

    Tia

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  4. And I am so thankful to have met you on twitter, and to now be able to call you my friend! You are such an inspiration, Robyn.

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