Defining Moments

I was in the middle of a project when Jonathan first tagged me in this challenge of sharing our top 5 moments.A whole slew of great educators reflected on their top 5 defining moments in their teaching career. Thanks to Lisa’s post yesterday for the reminder to reflect.

As I reflect on the last 15 years or so there are so many moments that stand out. It’s hard to pick defining moments. What makes those moments worthy of such a title? The more I reflect, the more I realize the impact my teachers, my family, my experiences have on my day to day work but here are a few that happened right within the walls of the school house or at least the daily schedule (couldn’t decide on 4 and 5). Some are big, others small. They may seem insignificant but it’s crazy to see how they all add to my journey.

  1. Diving in with Both Feet – I’m not sure why I didn’t question leading lunch and learns in my first year of teaching. I was just so excited to get the job that I said ok to everything. It maybe wasn’t amazing and I maybe did sessions on Bailey’s Book House (I can’t believe I am sharing this) but it’s amazing what that small act taught me. I walked away with an understanding that everyone could be a learner, no matter how far along in their journey. We could all learn from each other in our learning community, even from a timid first year teacher.
  2. Wait – I can’t even remember which colleague it was now but I walked into their classroom to collaborate in my role as a Literacy Coach. They were in the deep of a conversation with a friend. The gesture was so simple. A quick show of the hand to ask me to wait one minute. I know this may seem silly but it has always stuck with me. Learner first. Everything else can wait.
  3. Community – An offer came up to collaborate with two other boards as we looked at instructional intelligence in our practice through a collaborative inquiry. I had never done anything like that before. Having opportunities to be challenged, pushed by and learn alongside great educators outside my board changed my perspective. More than anything the experience reminded me of the power of community and set a high bar for any future collaborations.

It’s fun to look back and see the small moments. Moments that made me stop and reflect while challenging me to look at learning differently.

What are your defining moments? 


At the Start of a New Year

With the start of a new school year comes the excitement of new plans and projects. You start with one and before you know it you have a list from flexible seating to diving deeper with design thinking, reflecting more, exploring Microbits and livebeacons. The list gets longer and longer as you read and browse, chat with colleagues. Then that overwhelming sensation starts creeping in. Where to start? I get why colleagues sometimes ask what initiative should I pick? Which one should I focus in on? Exciting goals and plans quickly turn in to a long list of individual to dos.

As participants came in to our Primary Basic AQ course this summer, this quote was on the screen from How Learning Happens:

Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential. They grow up in families with diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Every child should feel that he or she belongs, is a valuable contributor to his or her surroundings, and deserves the opportunity to succeed. 

We came back to the quote time and time again. It was our anchor as we explored, discussed, challenged. Although we have used the quote each session I think what caught me off guard was how the idea of seeing kids as competent, capable, rich in potential kept coming up in our discussions in the Teacher Leadership course as well. The more I reflected on the quote I realized it became a lens that brought all the pieces together. It all comes back to the child. Our list of ideas, strategies, resources to explore may be long but if we keep this is mind, they just become a tool to empower and engage.

And then I thought…

Do I look at educators, parents, leaders with the same lens? Do I assume positive intentions and realize we share a common passion for education? How am I sparking curiosity? Do I value their past experiences?

Then the hardest reflection…

Do I look at myself and my work from that same lens? Can I say I’m compentent, capable and curious? Am I acknowledging how my past affects my practice?

So as a new year begin and the ideas start swirling, I’m printing off the quote as a daily   reminder to focus on our competent, capable, curious and rich in potential friends.