Sunday, 28 August 2011

Group Wisdom

As part of our recent district advance school administrators had to share knowledge with each other as part of an exercise referred to as their "Ticket Out the Door". The topic on deck had been mentoring and how we, as an admin team could better support on another. Over the past few months several members of the team had become new fathers so, as the last piece of business of the day, and in order to physically be able to leave the session, admin team members were to write out the single best or most important piece of information they knew or had been told about bringing up babies.

The results were both enlightening and entertaining. As the collector of the information I got to read, edit and collate the offerings, and then present them to the group the next day. Here's a sampling of what the team had to say: sleep when they sleep - enjoy the baby"s inside time, things get complicated once they get out, clean diapers replace the soiled ones; not the other way around, and read with and to the baby daily.

There were lots of comments about taking the time to enjoy babies while both they and the babies were still young, encouragement to support their partners in the child rearing exercise, even a suggestion as to how many babies might be optimal. Some of the comments were humorous, some heartfelt, all sincere. The point of the exercise was not to come up with a definitive list, but to demonstrate that working together, our district leadership team is pretty smart, and that by sharing their experience they can be effective mentors to each other.

This is my 23rd year working in SD 60, and my 30th as an educator. I can remember walking into rooms and marveling at how much older and smarter everyone looked. At this year's advance most of the folks appear to be younger than me. Those of us who used to be the ones asking for help or guidance, suddenly find ourselves fielding, rather than asking, the questions. Its not always comfortable, especially when we don't always know the answers.

Collectively we have a better chance of figuring things out. Just like we did with the new baby question, we can work together on any challenge and come up with some positive options.  As the year ahead unfolds, BC educators are going to face a number of challenges. Thankfully,  through collaboration and mentoring efforts, we will be able to tap into the wisdom of the group, and together,  get through them!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Education Matters

Welcome to my blog, Education Matters. Picking a Title is always a tricky thing. A title needs to be informative and catchy. It should give readers a hint of what to expect without being too explicit or dull and direct. I like my titles to have more than one meaning.

Folks who know me understand that, as a teacher of English, I enjoy playing with words and challenging the ways people think. My former students, my family, and some colleagues are all painfully aware of my affection for bad puns and clever word play. (Well I think its clever - others tell me it can just be annoying!) That's why I'm so pleased with my title. Matters can be either a noun or a verb! I could be saying that education is important- that it matters (and it does!), or I could be saying that I'll be writing about educational matter - topics relating to education (and I will!) Its like when students used to ask me if the answer was one thing or another. If they asked if the correct response was one option or the other I would invariably say yes, and then ask them which one they thought might be the best and why. Some students were confused, others amused, still others frustrated by my unwillingness to simply give them the answer. The important thing was - they all had a response - and that was what I was aiming for.

Its what I'll be going for here too! No matter what I'm blogging about, whether its the importance of some educational initiative or simply a riff on the topic of the day, I hope to elicit some thought and response. After all, education matters matter - don't they?