It’s been an incredible summer.
Our Northwestern Ontario weather has been incredible- from the end of June through to the end of August, we’ve had very few days that weren’t full of sunshine and unexpected heat. In spite of seemingly low amounts of rain we have had few forest fires. In spite of the higher temperatures, our beautiful lakes have remained cool and clear, with a noteable absence of end-of-season algae. And, in spite of all of this incredible sunshine, my nose has not peeled from sunburn even ONCE. Yes, by all accounts, this summer has been a pile of anomoly and unexpected wonder.
In spite of a promise I made in March to not TAKE OR TEACH an additional course for ONE FULL CALENDAR YEAR, a broken promise, I have spent the last 11 weeks in a learning environment that I have, not once, regretted. In fact, this week I am sad to see it come to an end. So as I start up a new school year, all of the reflections of summer joy and preparations for a new start in my school board position, I can’t help but feel the usual celebrations and trepidations.
In an attempt to self-assess my work in the PLP Connected Coach course, I’ve completed this Google Doc self-assessment. It’s difficult to put a number grade on my work as a coach when I am also technically away from my professional practice. (But do we ever REALLY turn it off?) What I’ve been able to do, however, is to think back on the support opportunities I have had in the past as a technology coach and ask myself, knowing what I know now, what would I do differently? How will I apply best practices in the future?
Much of our focus has been using appreciative inquiry and a strength-based approach as a basis for our digging deeper into pedagogy, passion-based learning, TPACK, action research, questioning and trust-building. As my eldest daughter would say, “I gots this.” Collaboratively, we have worked on creating a ready-to-use Toolkit to not only ensure we have access to the “gems” of our discussions, but also a means to further connect and develop and unpack our pedagogy and stance.
So when I reflect on the process, I’m mostly feeling like I’m at the starting line.
Ready to go.
It’s been a lot of work. My family will agree, throughout the past 11 weeks I have holed myself up in a variety of places in order to check in on discussions, connect with colleagues, Tweet, create blog posts, participate in webinars, read books and articles, view, listen, and create web presentations… all while on summer holidays. I have had deep face-to-face discussions on my dock, on my deck, at barbecues and in coffee shops. I have dug deep into my philosophies of education and blended learning, while using Facebook, Twitter, Skype and the PLP Ning to connect with those near and far.
Some of the one-liners that come to mind are:
- Please be patient with me, God isn’t finished with me yet.
- None of us are as strong as all of us.
- We make time for that which we value.
- What would you do if fear were not a factor?
And, as I continue to work in the year of PD and the Connected Educator book club, I’m certain the connections to my PLN will continue to stay strong. In addition to a planet of learning opportunities ahead and very lofty personal and professional goals, I can immediately put into practice my work as a Connected Coach as I filter through my school board email and begin to respond to the requests for support from my colleagues and build a foundation of trust in my community. I will continue to support my fellow technology teachers and brave the world of our board-wide 1:1 technology plan. (You can bet there will be transparent blog posts there!)
But for today, as I unpack from the weekend of camping, get reintroduced to my office space at school, and prepare for my evening book club on the pontoon boat, I’m mostly just thankful.
because I’m ready.