I recently came across this image…
I came across it when reading 10 Tips to Become a 21st Century Teacher and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since! To me, it perfectly sums up the paradox experienced by new-to-PYP teachers. At my school most of our teachers have taught in the PYP for less than 5 years (myself included) which means we all have a lot to learn about inquiry-based, concept-driven, student-led, internationally minded teaching and learning.
However, much too often these are the comments I hear:
“I just don’t have time to go on blogs.”
“When in my day am I supposed to find time for my own learning?”
“I am too busy with my teaching responsibilities to have time to go on Twitter.”
“When are we ever supposed to have a free moment to go on OCC or read IB documents?”
I always find this way of thinking so ironic. The very practices that clutter our time as teachers – finding worksheets, photocopying, “marking”, planning “activities”, finding resources for students, coming up with summative tasks, writing rubrics, mapping out 6 weeks of a unit – are the very practices we would start to let go of and approach differently if we had a deeper understanding of inquiry-based teaching and learning.
My advice? Make the time to learn about the round wheels. You will thank yourself later. Go on blogs, join Twitter, read the IB documents. Once you understand how the round wheels work and how to use them, I promise you will find that beautiful balance in inquiry-based teaching and learning where the students’ learning and engagement goes up and your “prep” and “busyness” goes down. It is a wonderful symbiotic relationship and when you experience it, you will know it. It’s enjoyable for the students and equally enjoyable for the teachers!
But in order to get there – and find that enjoyable, smooth ride that is made possible by the round wheels – you have invest the time to learn, let go of old practices and be willing to try doing things a new way.
Are you too busy to improve?
If so, be prepared to keep being exhausted as you pull your cart along with square wheels.