Thursday, 12 November 2015

Reflecting on the Process of Reflection

Before I can think about how MindLab went... which was pretty well actually... I need to share a few things about how I reflect - mainly because it's on my mind and I can't quite focus til I've gotten it out of my system. Quite a few things I actually need to focus on at the moment too... like report writing, finishing marking and uploading credits to KAMAR, helping students, marking junior assessments and creating resources for them before exams next week.

Right now though, I've been prompted to think about how I reflect and how I engage with my own learning.

Even when I was younger I've always written for a purpose. When I was five it was to simply write down how I was feeling and get issues off of my chest... seemingly like what I'm doing now... When I was 11 - 15 I started thinking about the people who might actually read these diaries I was writing - my children, grandchildren, family etc - and I wrote as if I was writing to them, even talking to them by names I'd made up. When I was 16 I fully embraced the fanfiction world and became so involved with it because of my escapism so as not to think about the reality that I was living without my Grandad. I didn't really write much for a while about myself in journals as I was expressing myself through badly worded lyrics, poetry and continuing to make my way as a creative writer in the fanfic world. From 18-20 I was so immersed in the beautiful philosophical reality of being at university and learning so much about myself and sharing my ideas through essay after essay. I was also struggling with being in the parallel and very unsure world of meeting my Dad, brothers and sisters and distant members on my dad's side of the family tree. When I was 20... something incredibly terrible happened at the time that prompted me to begin writing again. I'm glad I did because I haven't stopped since.

Whether it's been in little kid diaries, silly LiveJournal posts, KiwiBlog, Blogger or private writing in unpublished blogs - I've been aware of who my audience was.

At present, I write for myself here. I know that there is a bigger audience that reads this - and I'd just like to make a shoutout to the MindLab 2015 Nov intake crew who commented a few posts ago and reminded me that people do read my stuff!! :)

Regardless though, this is always and has always been a reflection of my own teaching journey within this blog. I'm a curator of knowledge. I gather what I need, search for what I want and develop my own theories and hold onto information that happens to help me live the life I'd like to and that helps me with succeeding in my aspirational life goals.

As a curator, I like to share. As evidenced here and on Twitter too....and Facebook... where I post a lot...and share cool things I see. I didn't connect with the word curator until last year when a new colleague from Australia mentioned during a conference that I was prolific with how I share. I'm sure that there is another word he used but right now it's not falling into thoughts from the words hanging in my head...

As a curator, like good museum curators (which I'd love to be one day too..), I think about the story I need to share, the perspectives I'd like people to think about and more importantly, the understandings that develop and are created over time.

As a curator I think about what to post, what to share and obviously what not to share. People have different ideas on this of course.

On Twitter, I'm very sure of the how, what and why when using it and more importantly with who I'm discussing things with. The tikanga of Twitter helps when deciding what to share and when and with what audiences and this could be as simple as which hashtag to use. I think though that the fact that it's so public is what keeps me being true to myself and I say what I believe, constantly professional (with the odd tweet to my mate...) and overwhelmingly OWN everything I say and post. If there is some issue, I'm totally okay with taking things down if they've offended someone or have perhaps been taken the wrong way and I try to deal with the situation as fast as possible and with as much care as I can. Sometimes it can be easy to be a different person behind the screen than it is to show your true self. Portraying yourself and being transparent is key.

At the end of the day - I'm me and I'm constantly learning. I hope I never give up and become cynical and believe that change is hard. Because it's not. It's uncomfortable. And regardless of how carefully worded I pitch things as new ideas, there will nearly always be someone who doesn't agree or want to give it a go.

At the end of the day - I know who I'm writing for. Who I am and who I want to be. I need reminders like this that maybe if there are disgruntled people that perhaps I'm doing my job of being a change agent and disrupting with humility. I just need to be careful not to get in a rut, stuck, trapped into thinking that what I'm doing doesn't have a purpose or that what I'm doing is unworthy. Because I'm proud of where I've come - particularly since I was 20. Seven beautiful years... well maybe lets say six - but regardless... still proud of myself. Making movements towards the person I want to be one day and every new step, every new challenge, is at least hopefully moving me in the right direction.