This year I was new to my role and new to my school.
Well, I should say “new-ish” because before working at this school, I was actually lucky enough to have visited this school the year before; as a consultant.
And when I was there last year as a visitor – I kept thinking to myself, “This staff is something special” Even when I got back to my school at the time, anytime anyone asked me about how my workshop went and what they school was like, I just kept saying “The staff was really special.”
And although I could identify the special-ness… I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was that made them so, well, special.
Lucky for me, I joined that school, so I had the whole year to try and figure it out!
Now the school year has come to an end, and I think I have discovered just what is so special about this collection of educators.
They are learners.
All of them. Every single one. Despite their role – teacher, teaching assistant, counsellor, integrationist, pedagogical coach, principal – each and every person that makes up the Primary staff has the heart and soul of a true PYP learner.
All year I was seeing glimpses of this. Enthusiasm for growing, an insatiable desire for support, constant questions. Anytime I would offer optional professional learning sessions or courses – there they would be! Ready to learn.
But it wasn’t until our end of year reflections, that I saw the true extent of this.
Our whole staff participated in 3 end of year reflections that looked through the following lenses.
How have I grown as an educator?
We asked each staff member to reflect upon and notice and name the ways in which they have grown in their specific role. And either choose an artifact that already exists, or create something to synthesize, summarize and share that growth with the rest of the community. We used a Padlet as a central place to post these reflections.
How have I grown as a learner?
Then we asked each staff member to reflect upon how they have grown as a learner this year. Specifically by choosing 1 skill in each of the 5 ATL categories that they feel they have strengthened or honed. We used Flipgrid as a central place to post these reflections.
How have I grown as a person?
Next we asked each staff member to reflect upon how they have grown as a person. We encouraged them to reflect on what attributes of the Learner Profile they have developed over the past year. Since, this one was a little more personal, we used PearDeck to collect everyone’s reflections more privately.
No convincing needed. No pulling teeth. Everyone just jumped right in!
I was blown away, not only by the willingness to be open and vulnerable to publicly share these reflection with one another. But the actual reflections themselves, revealed practitioners who see themselves as learners, understand themselves as learners, and who approach their own personal and professional growth as a life-long, on-going process. A process in which they have ownership over and see as within their control.
In my role as PYP Coordinator and Assistant Principal, this is treasure!
Trying to help a teacher, become a better teacher, can be challenging.
Trying to help a learner, help themself become a better teacher, is a true pleasure.
Many PYP schools strive to be a community of learners. This year, I had the privilege of living and breathing what that is actually like on a daily basis.
And it was pretty, freakin’ special. ❤️
I loved reading this, very inspiring. Thank you
Aw Taryn. This made me cry!
Continuing on with your treasure analogy: Treasure doesn’t appear on it’s own. It needs someone to go looking for it, to sometimes see beyond the outward appearance and recognise the value within….and that takes patience, skill and determination. Thank you for being a treasure hunter this year and helping to dig out this best in us. We are extremely lucky to have you 🙂
This makes me even more excited to join the Herd, even if it’s only for a year. If a school such as AISM can’t be a learning organization, then who can be? Thanks for sharing your observations. Looking forward to meeting you and learning from you as we work together in 2020–21.