In every role I’ve held in a school, I have always found the third year to be the best year. This is particularly true of my experience as a Head of Dept, where the third year really allowed me to effect some change and be proactive and creative. If I was at school this year, it would be my third year as Curriculum Coordinator and no doubt I would have been able to focus on being more proactive and creative in my role. I find that in leadership roles and starting a new school, it takes a good couple of years to get a real appreciation for the culture of the school and the needs of the community. It also allows for a real opportunity to reflect on your own experiences – as well as reflecting on strengths and weaknesses. I was really looking forward to my third year in this role. I had decided that my third year would be the year that I would become better at balancing administrative tasks with other aspects of my role. In some way, I was going to tame the administrative beast.
In July of 2013, when I was thinking about 2014, I found out that I was pregnant and that was absolutely wonderful news! As semester two progressed, the reality that I would not be working started to settle. When my replacement was announced, I spent a lot of time thinking deeply about my role, the many facets of my role, the many people I work with and the many demands of the role. I spent a lot of time trying to put into words and into documents, the work that I do. I spent a lot of time preparing documents for 2014 and in conversations with my replacement, to help her develop a sense of what is required. I think the time spent really thinking about my role was one of the hardest and one of the best things I have done. It made me prioritise what I do, in a way that I hadn’t done so before. It made me really think about how best to communicate the complexities of my role without making it sound like a shopping list of tasks.
One thing that I did that I was really proud of, was conceptualising aspects of my role as a series of projects. Setting dates and targets, so that things could be achieved. This made things less overwhelming a prospect for my replacement. It also enabled me to have a conversation with her about leadership and areas of focus for 2014, namely assessment. It took a great deal of time to do this, but I was really pleased with the outcome. I have spoken to her a couple of times and she has been positive about the start to the year.
I don’t want to lose contact with my PLN this year, particularly when there are so many changes to curriculum. First and foremost there is the implementation of the Australian Curriculum and the changes to the Area of Study and texts for a range of modules for Stage 6 English. I have set some goals this year. For starters I want to engage more with the Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) of which I am part of that network. I also want to spend some time really immersing in the creative aspects of programming and assessment – as an English teacher, I want to refresh my pedagogy. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to really focus on my own professional development as an English teacher. It’s something that I miss terribly and just in the last few days I have found some wonderful resources online, particularly blog posts written by some talented and passionate educators.
My other teaching area is Languages – Japanese and I have already started focusing on refreshing my skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It’s amazing how quickly it comes back to you, even if you aren’t using the language on a daily basis. My other dream for this year is to learn Mandarin. Of course it’s going to take longer than a year, but I figured that I will have greater flexibility to listen to podcasts and study online. I have found a Mandarin tutor and can’t wait to meet with her, to learn.
Most of all, I am really excited about becoming a parent and watching how my child will come to learn about the world. I love the fact that I will provide him with a really wonderful foundation to learn through play and exploration.