On top of the students of my school pulling off an amazing Matariki performance, I gave an ignite talk and then hopped on a plane on Friday night for #educamp Christchurch.
Matariki, being the Maori new year it seems an awesome time to reflect. As @taratj pointed out at the amazing Ignite Evening at Amesbury school it’s been almost a year since the first Ignite evening was held at ASHS. That immediately made me realize that it’s been about a year since @FionaGrant offered me a lift up to Tai Tokerau Educamp where I met some fantabulous teachers including the MAGIC @annekenn. Anne’s enthusiasm for all things learning (see I ditched the e) is so infectious that I’m feeling a lot more re-energized for the last week of term.
It’s hard to believe how much my life has changed since that first educamp. A new job, a new city. Yes it’s been tough but ultimately but oh so rewarding.
This week I was reminded how very easy it is to find yourself stuck in the silo of your own class/syndicate/school/city/country and forget to nurture those links. As I mentioned last week, it can easy to push those online connections to one side especially when you find yourself seemingly bombarded by tasks that require your immediate attention. But for me, there’s something very cool that happens when teachers come together from a variety of different contexts come together to learn.
I know there’s a snark out there that the younger student, the less intellectuality demanding the teaching is and therefore less important the work is. I challenge anyone who thinks Year 1/2 teaching is easy to spend even a morning in a junior classroom watching the amazing learning goes on. As one of the ignite talks on Thursday five-year olds are capable of learning a great deal when you break the steps down for them.
Indeed it was amazing to spend a session over at a contributing school for my students to see where they have come from as well as pick some ideas for my own teaching. But this weekend I realized I have absolutely no idea what happens to my year 8 students once they go to College save for my own memories of high school. I hope things have changed since I left, but in general there seems to be a huge and I would argue unnecessary chasm between the different education sectors in New Zealand.
Certainly for me at least there’s a huge rejuvenation that comes from getting out of my own context and seeing what works in different places as well as renewing links with other educators. The fact that we don’t get together all the time makes thing like educamps and ignite evenings so special.
But really shouldn’t we as teachers be doing more of this sort of stuff?
As Matt Harding demonstrates, there’s something truly MAGIC in coming together.
You are so right about the differences between the education sector. I’ve been discussing this difference between primary/intermediate styles compared to secondary. One of the big difference in secondary, is that despite being very knowledgeable about their subject, many secondary teachers plain can’t teach. Especially when it comes to the marginal kids.
I found it disturbing during the short time I spent teaching in secondary a couple of years ago that many secondary teachers did not effectively demonstrate and explain; very few allowed experimentation; some did not allow students to ask for assistance or brushed them off as layabouts who didn’t listen; some plain didn’t engage with the students, were boring and antagonistic or plain didn’t even like kids; the less than one hour time slot was not always conducive to learning; some of them considered giving ‘busy’ work as teaching; some were so absorbed in control, there was no way their students were going to learn.
I think the big reason here is that during their training, secondary teachers do not get enough in the art of teaching. The traditional format of colleges does not help either.