Saturday, January 31, 2015

Being: a Teacher

So I have returned to teaching and I’m doing short term contracts. I made this choice for myself because I really didn’t know what steps to take next. In fact there are many reasons why I made this choice:

  1. I’ll get paid, ya know? There are bills and adult responsibilities that have to be taken care of and an income helps in this regard.
  2. I can take some time off as I need without having to ask for approval. I can get things in my life sorted – whether that be project or house work or garden. I will have more time.
  3. I get some variety in my life.
  4. There is limited responsibility. I am still responsible and professional. But at the end of the day, I walk away. I am not required to do rosters or work an 11 hour day to cover staff who are sick because there are no available relief staff and none of my team are able to, or will work a longer shift.
  5. I get to be. The Being part of Belonging, Being and Becoming. I get to experience that too. I am there for the children. I am not feeling the same pressures I once felt as a teacher or director or teaching director.
  6. I can experiment with documenting children’s learning - with my writing style, what I choose to include or leave out and all that jazz.
  7. I can really focus on myself – my professional self. Who I am. Who I am for the children. Who I am for the team. I get to observe myself and how children respond to me. I’m finding it quite interesting.
  8. I can bide my time ... work and figure out who I want to be when I grow up. Because, at the end of the day, I have no idea what direction I want to travel in.
  9. I don’t have to get sucked into centre/service/organizational politics. I go to work. I do my job. I do the best job I can. I go home. Tada!
  10. I will have plenty to reflect upon ... which means I can write about it ... which means I can do my Teacher’s Ink. work as well as a few of my other of my other projects!
  11. I will be able to practice what my brain now knows after the last two years of mentoring and thinking ... Which can only be a good thing.

© Teacher’s Ink. 2015 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dear Team ...

Dear Team,

First, I should tell you where I’m coming from. I think about the children. I’m not always right, and I’m not always equally fair to absolutely everyone, but the first and foremost thought running through my mind is the children, both collectively and as a cluster of individuals.

I want the children to have the best experience they can in the space I am in - with the other individuals they are with, both adult and child. Now, I don’t mean I want them to be happy all the time. That’s not a realistic possibility, but I want them to be safe, valued and heard. I want them to feel connected to the learning community as well as the world as a whole. I want them to be on a journey of discovering who they are as an individual in this life.

One of the aspects of my role is to give directions and guidance in regards to interacting and supervising, setting up of learning spaces, routine tasks, as well as workplace health and safety.  I don’t give directions because I enjoy doing it. I do it because I need to.  I am trying to manage and lead a service community which is made up of children and their families, our local community, educators and the many other individuals who step inside our door. It’s not easy. I need your understanding and your assistance.

I want the children to be safe, well and engaged – getting the most out of the moments they are in. This means we have to create dynamic learning environments that will encourage children to play and learn. We should engage with the children with respect and not take overpower them. We need to move around and spread ourselves across the space and the children. Parking ourselves at the art table because we like crafting ourselves isn't what we are here for. We need to 'work the party' and be accessible to all, not just the few.

I want the educators to be safe. I don’t want you to injure yourself or your colleagues. I don’t want to see you stressed and miserable. I want you to enjoy the great many hours you are spending at work. I want to mentor you and support you as evolving and growing professionals. You’re not here to babysit or be babysat yourself. I want you to be the best educators you can possibly be. This is something we can work on together, but only if you will let me.

I’m not the perfect leader, but I can promise you I am trying my best. My best will fluctuate from one moment to another, one day to another. That doesn’t mean I’m inconsistent, it means I’m human, like you. It also means that I am growing. I too evolve as a professional and learn new things each and every day.

You and I are legally responsible for the children in our care. That means, each and every thing you do, don’t do, say or don’t say has consequences. Now these consequences might be minor, a scratch on a knee because you didn't speak to your colleagues about leaving the room for a moment, but they might also be major and result in a trip to the hospital with a fracture. We hold the children’s lives in our hands. We are answerable to the child – both the child as they are now and also as they will be as an adult.  This is why records are kept until children are 25 years old. 

We answer to the child’s parents and families. We answer to our managers at every level. We are also answerable to the licensing and regulatory bodies as well as the law. Please do not take this responsibility lightly, I don’t.

Please work with me. Together we could achieve so very much, but it is something we need to do together, as a team. I cannot do this alone. 

Kind Regards,

Your Leader