This week has provided me with countless opportunities to learn. First and foremost, I have been the Naplan ‘go to’ person. For those of you who know me quite well, I’ll allow you a moment to chuckle at this prospect. Yes, in my previous life as an English Coordinator, the extent of my involvement with this national test, was to ensure our students understood the format and purpose of the test etc etc. I didn’t have anything to do with the administrative element and I must say, it was great to not have to worry about it all. This year, at my new school, in my new role as Curriculum Coordinator – I take carriage of this diagnostic test. I have learn’t a lot about myself after going through this process. As much as my mind doesn’t like to deal in the inane admin elements, I learn’t that listening to Bob Dylan makes it a much less trying experience. I’ve also learn’t just how amazing my colleagues are at admin and how much I love working as part of a team. They have this most wonderful ability to take a huge event, like Naplan and create these processes around it, so that it all runs so smoothly. The AP and Admin Coordinator are just brilliant.
I’ve also been vindicated because I had a mini victory with some of my year 12 students who, early in the year,lacked the motivation to learn in English. This is largely because they have found English to be a difficult subject. As a perfectionist and someone who sets extraordinarily high standards of myself, I had set the task to find ways to motivate my students. First and foremost I sought to build rapport and trust. It takes time to build trust, between a teacher and a class, and in year 12, you don’t have the luxury of time. Just this week, I’ve had students who have not submitted much work. complete practice essays. Yes, practice essays! I am so very proud of them! I truly concur with Hattie’s research about feedback being pivotal in the gains made by students. The trust is building, particularly after the really solid results in the Area of Study assessment task. Term 2 has been somewhat challenging in part. Perhaps it’s the play – Pygmalion – which is somewhat removed from their reality. I suppose I need to think more creatively about how best to engage them. Some lessons are just great, but others seem difficult. Difficult because some students find the play really difficult to understand. I suppose the difficulties that some students experience and the lack of motivation of others has had an impact on me this week. I feel as though I need to stop and take stock of the moment. I need to think about what I can do to engage the students who are a little disengaged.
I also learn’t a lot about relationships. I’ve had the distinct privilege of meeting with students and parents and teachers all week. There is great privilege in teaching young people. I truly believe it. The many conversations that transpired this week reminded me, that amidst the testing and the lesson prep and delivery, that the core business of education comes down to relationships. They are great at keeping me level headed. I value the young students who have had such a profound impact on me as an educator. They allow me to dream and to indulge in tangents from time to time. I encourage the same in them.