Friday, 12 September 2014

Ambition and Succession - A discussion on Processes, Reflections on the way I learn and the importance of goal setting..

This has been circulating my head for a wee while now... and I think I have some solid thoughts and questions to discuss...

I have always been a goal setter. Each year I would set new goals for myself and feel really accomplished when I'd succeeded. The times in my life that were the most traumatic and heart-wrenching usually occurred because I couldn't see any way out of the situation as I didn't have goals set out.. I was trying to let my heart lead me and my heart can be a stupid thing. My brain gets clouded too of course, but the majority of the time it is my heart's fault.. says the brain..


What I'm getting at is that when I set goals I have direction in my life and I know where I'm headed and what I want to achieve. This is important for me because if I don't have anything to work towards, then I am coasting and I am not getting the best out of myself. I am not pushing myself when I have no goals and I certainly don't enjoy my job or life when I don't have goals.

Recently - I've had the feeling like I've been coasting.

I could do way better than what I'm doing.

Sometimes I get used to the everyday cycle - which is the same kind of thing - get up tired, go to school... teach... mark.. go home.... be annoyed by the puppy.. try to engage her and teach her better manners when I'm not so tired.. try to pay attention to the cat.. get too tired to cook properly.. watch tv or be on social media too long.. go to bed... repeat cycle...

This is problematic because I try to be as inspirational as possible in class, and I usually get a lot out of my students - particularly my Y9's and 10's at the moment who are grasping content and wider context analyses in so much depth that it reminds me that I am doing something right..

But at the end of the day - I need inspiration and goals to continue being the person I want to be.

I am and always have been about processes and strategies - I've been thinking about this more and more often lately. When I don't have procedures to follow - with clear guidelines, deadlines and expectations, I fall flat and don't do anything properly... because I coast.

I could be doing everything way better.

I thought about the differences between how I did things at my last school compared with my current school - particularly in regards to marking and moderation. I still try to get second opinions and make sure I'm marking properly - one day I hope that I will just KNOW that I'm marking properly... and looking at the marking schedule is all well and good but sometimes you really do need that second (or third or fourth) opinion to make sure you are on track.

However, the processes we use at my current school frustrate me because I was taught a different way - a way that worked for me, and it has been hard to break from it to do it the way we do it at my current kura. The problem is that I need to be marking with people, to quickly gauge where I'm at with my marking and we don't do that very often unless we seek out people who would like to mark together.

At my last kura we would spend hours after school during moderation together in massive marking panels and then discuss our marks afterwards. From this I learnt how to mark properly as the assistant HOD sat with me as a newbie teacher and worked through each piece and we debated our marks to decide on whether it fit the standard correctly and on which level we would place it. We would pass entire classes worth of writing to another teacher and so that meant that all of our work needed to be in on time. We had more access to computers to publish work - although at the time it didn't feel like it. However we were all booked into the computer suite at differing times for a week or so at end in order to complete pieces of work. This was effective.

It would be just as effective using Google Drive and Google Docs and Classroom to be able to do this. And thereby not have to use so much paper... we could do all the marking through docs, have each piece as a new version - so you could see the changes - and then the final copy could be dropped into Classroom with a clear deadline. It would ensure all pieces were done on time as well.

There is a bit of a problem with equity and access at home - also issues with authenticity if doing work at home - however - I think there have been discussions on the TKI English Forum about this. I just need to research this some more to understand how to deal with this more appropriately. At present I can see when students do work - and it's usually during class time... with the exception when I'm checking over a piece at home and they're reading my comments and we're conferencing their work online.

Still side-tracked...

Goal setting is important for me - because I have clear guidelines, deadlines and a wero that I have set myself to achieve. In a lot of cases these goals tend to be my own but they seem to be crossing over more often into the goals I set for my students.

I've been thinking about life after teaching recently as well. What do I want to do for my life? I am only 26. I have a lifetime (I hope) in front of me and I think it's important to future-plan... if a little bit. I used to try to plan every damn thing out but have learnt to leave a little up to that beautiful woman we call Fate.

Goal Setting

For the rest of 2014:

  • go to ULearn and PPTA Annual conference and get better at networking
  • Meet my favourite Twitter mates at ULearn!
  • Have a break.. somehow.. 
  • Reports... gah
  • Marking... gah.... 
  • Planning for next year :)
  • Cramming for my students and creating more notes and specific evidence
  • Finish up assessments and load all the credits up...
  • Finish marking these exams
  • Keep blogging
  • Keep up with #EngChatNZ
  • Be open to new opportunities...
  • Don't be scared to try new things... and new opportunities... #GrowthMindset
  • Create more goals... :)

For next year:

  • To teach history and social studies, as well as English
  • Get more involved within the PPTA
  • Get more involved within Rotaract.. possibly become president..
  • Get more involved within the school management - help somehow, somewhere...
  • Learn more about LWDT skills - develop my own... be a leader somehow..
  • Allow myself to make changes to my own practice and continue becoming an awesome teacher..
  • Develop my awareness of what leadership means and how I can become an even better one... 

For the next five years:

  • travel
  • buy my first home
  • become a mentor to a pre-service teacher
  • create more goals..

In ten years time... I hope to have:

  • Travelled extensively
  • bought a home (with a study to hide away from the dog and possible children...)
  • more confidence in myself as a teacher, as a person, as a daughter, aunty, cousin and sister...
  • a stronger awareness of my own presence - and how to use it effectively...
  • a solid ability to speak my mind and not fear the repurcussions
  • a strong opinion of my ability, intelligence and self confidence holistically
  • finished my Honours.. jeez. Only my dissertation to go... Gah. 
  • Completed a education and History..
  • moved schools a couple of times to keep myself fresh and used to change
  • create more goals...

When it all comes down to it... it's the same old imposter thinking... when will enough be enough?

So many of you believe in me. My students believe in me. To an extent I believe in me. I can be pretty arrogant and think that I know everything which I don't... but I do know certain things, and I know that regardless of all of that I'm still learning. I want to be a better teacher, a better leader, to inspire others and myself to keep succeeding and reaching the heights consistently and achieving more than I could ever have possibly have thought was possible..

I allow my victimised personality and sceptical paranoia to take hold too often.. and perhaps my ego allows my thinking that people are talking negatively about me all the time.. but maybe they are? I do my best. But I know that I'm coasting and that I can do even better. I just need to set my sights high and go hard. Or go home :)

Stream of consciousness...

Which maybe is where I may end up... though I don't really want to go back to Morrinsville.. though I've been pretty impressed with the amazing things that Morrcoll have been doing recently. Some fabulous changes are in store. I just have to keep my options open and let the doors keep opening.

This yes year has really been paying off. Try it. :)

Stalin really did have a good idea with his five year plans... shame he had to use them to commit mass genocide, poverty, inequality of wealth distribution...

I miss teaching History :(

This book 'Work Smarter Not Harder' was bought at the start of the year when the old bookshop was closing down... and it has been my mantra this year... except that I never got around to reading it... and am only now starting to implement some of it's ideals and thinking...

Law of attraction... what you put out will come back. This year I've been putting out lots of positive energy and been getting a lot back. I've screwed up a few times but ultimately tried to make up for those times when I messed up. Am pretty sure I found SB's piece of writing today in the folder I created at the start of the year... having looked EVERYWHERE and feeling incredibly guilty for having lost it... but it was there the whole time...

Mia is obsessed with the smell and scraps of chocolate. I bought her those dog choc drops... which are working.. but she's such a damn tutu... gah.

Night! Off to watch 'Lucy' with my Rotaract mates :)