Beginnings and Transitions

This blog exists as a record and reflection of my experiences as an educator. The cliché states that an effective teacher is a reflective teacher, and so in my desire to be a more effective teacher and educational leader, here are my reflections. Why a blog? A blog is the 21st century journal, and the immediately public nature of it provides a sense of accountability that will hopefully fill the gaps when motivation falls flat. Even if an audience is a long time coming.

So… why now? 2011 marks a year of some changes, and I want to maximise the impact of those changes in as many positive ways as I can manage. Today I officially started in the role of a reliving head of the English faculty at the high school where I teach English, Drama and a Vocational Education course on theatre and events production. I have occupied this position for 14 weeks previously, and have spent one full school year as the head of the Creative Arts faculty at the same school. This position is nothing ‘new’, however it is an opportunity to bring together the lessons of my past experiences and try to make a difference at a time when there is a difference to be made.

I’ll end the cryptic vague-speak there. Given the realm of privacy issues, potential for libel, and other issues that surround public discourse as a public educator, I the focus of this Blog will be positive and personal.

Other changes in the year ahead revolve around the fact that I have also set myself on a path of further personal education which over the next 12 months is going to prove both challenging and, hopefully, invigorating as I have missed the experience of focused investigation, and to some extent lack the ability to engage in truly independent further learning.

So for at least for the first twelve months that I write this blog I will be teacher, educational leader, and student. “What did I learn today?” will be the guiding question, and all realm of experiences will provide the subject matter.

So, after what seems like a fairly dry introduction, on with the blog…

What did I learn today?

Today I learned about the value of understanding and controlling one’s impulses.  It was the first day he of a new school term which meant a no student, staff development day incorporating professional development activities for everyone in the school.  Today were dominated by a presentation and workshop led by two ladies from the company True Colours Australia (http://www.truecoloursaustralia.com.au/).  The focus of the workshop was on self-evaluation using the true colours system of personality identification.  It supposedly builds on the Meyers-Briggs test which has been around since the fifties but unlike that test it does not result in absolute associations, instead incorporating the idea that everybody has elements of each personality type with some being more dominant.

The results of my initial self-evaluation, which I have no doubt was less than a thorough examination being only half an hour of a reflection exercise, showed a than I am predominantly a thinking person, closely followed by a feeling and empathic qualities, then a small jump down to action oriented and potentially impulsive tendencies, with the last on the list being an ability to plan, organize, follow retain, etc.  This came as no particular surprise, however he was particularly interesting to note the negative qualities of my dominant personality traits which were often having feelings of frustration towards other people, a tendency to come off like an intellectual snob and be perceived as extremely arrogant.  No particular surprises there either.

Given the nature of the exercise I set myself the challenge of fighting my impulses to act, whether they be to speak, engage or disengage with a particular conversation, or to be distracted by my phone or computer, or by my own thoughts.  It was a partial success at best, however I did take more time to sit back and watch and listen to other people a little more than I otherwise might do and found it particularly interesting to note the dynamics of other people’s behaviour whilst engaging in the activities.  There is something about the aggressive way in which some people reject self-reflection exercises that I found particularly interesting, though not necessarily new, and it led me to reflect on just how much our impulsive behaviours say about us that we may not want to be said.  I recognized in myself a tendency to be a little condescending when I felt people were missing the point and I had to fight that impulse several times during the day. Particularly during moments where people were being extremely negative about the exercise rather than just giving it a go.

I kept this mindset throughout the day, through a faculty meeting and another session of literacy skills, and came away feeling like it was a positive start of term.

I came home to my wife and it would seem that somewhere along the way I completely forgot the benefits of the day’s learning experiences.  Who would have ever thought that something learned at school had relevance to a person’s real life?

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