Education – Teaching, Leading, Learning

Archive for August, 2013

My Vision for Education – #SAVMP

My vision for education has evolved over the years through all my experiences as an educator.  I have had the opportunity to work with many fabulous students, teachers, and leaders.  I have seen many programs come and go.  I have seen great successes and great failures. This has helped me create a vision for a successful school.

I believe school is a place where you teach the “whole” child.  It’s more than just academic learning.  It’s about helping a child grow physically, socially, and emotionally.  And then, it’s about preparing them to be lifelong learners in an ever-changing world.

I have learned first hand that you have to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of a child so that they can feel safe and cared for.  If they are hungry, feed them.  If they are cold, get them more clothes.  If they are tired, let them sleep.  If they are sad or scared, give them the opportunity to share their feelings and unburden.  I have always believed that we need to do what it takes at school to make a child want to be there and want to learn.  Learning is the last thing on a child’s mind if these other important aspects of their lives are not balanced.  When the “whole” child is in a healthy place, learning can and will become a priority for them.  Every child wants to learn, we just need to help get rid of the things that block it.

I believe that school is a place where every child can learn.  This looks different for different students.  You will need to find each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and how they learn best.  You will need to create programs that reach where each individual is presently at and pushes them to grow to new heights.  You may need to find supports and different ways to help guide their learning.  This is a huge task for a teacher so a school needs to rally around them and provide all the resources and supports that help make this job manageable.

I also believe that school is a community.  It is a place where strong connections are formed.  Relationships are built with mutual respect and trust.  This community starts with building strong staff relationships and carries over to strong staff-student relationships.  School is a place where you know people care about you and your learning.  It is a place where people are happy to see you and you are very happy to be there.  It is more than just a place to learn, it’s a place where you know you belong.

I will end this with our school’s mission statement that we created a few years ago, but I still believe it sums things up in a simple yet effective way:

“Together we enter, together we leave, helping each other grow and succeed.”

Why I lead? #SAVMP

I am very happy to be joining the School Admin. Virtual Mentor Program that George Couros has so graciously set up.  I must admit though that I am a little nervous, especially since I am stepping out of my “comfort zone” and putting my thoughts out there in my first blog.

I am quite new to using social media as a professional development tool.  I have really begun to see the amazing wealth of information that I can get, especially from Twitter.  Through this, I have also been able to read some amazing blogs from leaders/educators sharing their thoughts and ideas.  So, I guess it’s time to join in.

Why I lead?…Tough question.  I guess I would have to say that one reason I lead is that I am passionate about education.  I love what I do and truly enjoy going to work every day.  I hope that my passion helps others see their own passions in education.  I want everyone to believe that they make a difference every day in the lives they touch.

I lead because I am always learning.  My path to leadership started because of my desire to push myself in the classroom.  I was always questioning what I was doing, how the students were learning, and what I could do differently to improve it.  This eventually lead to me becoming our school’s education technology lead.  This position had a huge learning curve because it not only pushed how we could utilize technology in the classroom, but I was also responsible for the set-up and maintenance of all the computer hardware and programs.  In this position, I learned that I would always be learning.  I would never know all the answers, but I was very good at finding people who could help me troubleshoot and solve the problems that arose.

I lead because I want to be a piece of the collaborative process that makes our school a great place to teach and learn.  For the last 2 years I have been an assistant principal.  Prior to that I taught here for over 20 years.  We are a school that has many students with severe disabilities (especially behaviour and emotional), but it has always amazed me how we all continue to push ourselves to find better ways to reach and teach our students.  We are very lucky to have Professional Learning Community time built into our timetables.  We have been able to collaborate to question what we are doing, the needs we have, and ways to improve our practice.  I have also been part of an amazing collaborative team of 3 administrators and 1 Student Supports Coordinator.  I have seen the value and importance of sharing ideas and making decisions together.

I can’t wait to see how this year in the mentor program unfolds.  I look forward to the chance to collaborate about successful practices in leadership.  I want to learn so much more about using social media to help guide my learning.  I want to be able to share this with others that I am connecting with as well as the wonderful staff that I am so blessed to work with.

Here’s to a great start!