Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Year Start - Time for Change!

As I come up for air, I want to reflect briefly on starting off the year in a new school.

When I look back over the last few years I can’t believe how far I’ve come as a teacher. As someone who was just interested in technology as a learning tool I have always learned new ways of doing things in and out of the classroom, using technology. Over the past couple of years as I became a connected educator my eyes have opened to so much more in the world of learning and teaching. Being connected has also opened many doors of opportunities.

In the Spring, when only two positions were posted that even remotely interested me, I was worried whether this was going to be a year of change for me. After seven years in the same school, it was time for me to move. At first, neither of the jobs seemed perfect. The great thing was that both positions were advertised as full time non-classroom based learning leaders to begin the transformation of their respective libraries to a learning commons. A movement that has been the basis of what i have done over the past three years. 

However, the first one I looked at was in an Arts based program school at the opposite end of the city. I loved the sound of the school and their vision of what they wanted the learning commons to become. It just wasn’t going to work on a personal level as it was too far from home and also a later start school which meant my day would change completely. I was disappointed to say the least.

The second school was a good distance and similar hours. However, this one was a Traditional Learning Centre (TLC), An alternative program in our district aimed at fulfilling the needs and wants of parents in a growing number of communities. The program, as far as I was aware, was focused around direct teaching, students sitting in rows, mandatory homework and a uniform. From what I originally understood, inquiry wasn’t really encouraged or practiced in TLC schools. Applying for a job in a TLC seemed far too stretched as far was my role in the building and how I would fit in. Most would say my work is far from a traditional kind of teaching and learning.

After much deliberation and discussion with my wife and also other colleagues, I decided I really needed to apply for both. If I happened to get interviews they would be at least be great experience for future job applications. It turned out I would get an interview at the TLC school first. It went well, really well! I felt like the job was mine but didn’t want to commit until I knew what was happening at the other school. They called me the same day and wanted to set up an interview, which I did. Over that weekend I my stomach churned multiple times. I finally made my mind up that I would not go to the second interview and I would focus on the more “controversial” position as I had a good gut feeling (for the most part). Within a few days I was offered the job and I accepted.

After a couple months to get used to the idea, I started back this Fall in my new school. I am now a full time Learning Leader in a Traditional Learning Centre. I will be responsible for transitioning the current library space to a fully fledged high-tech Learning Commons where innovation is the norm. The school (all 32 teaching staff, 10-15 support staff, and 630 students) have given me an amazing welcome. All nerves have since disappeared and I’m totally focused on making the most of this new position.

What an amazing feeling to be in a building amongst new people, who are all keen to learn with me and move their practice forward. This is an opportunity I do not want to miss. I have already seen and felt amazing support from my administrators as well as the other staff around me. I really feel that this learning commons will make leaps and bounds throughout this school year. 

I am already proud to say I am part of this strong staff in the TLC program. I even like my uniform - thanks to the bowtie!

BRING IT ON! I’m ready for anything and everything!