Friday, September 1, 2017

Self Awareness and Next Steps

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We had our "back to school" staff meeting this week. It was great to see my co workers and hear about their summer adventures. As the day progressed I found myself reflecting on my professional goals for this school year. I was thinking about my growth as an educator and the possible obstacles that could get in the way.

One of the things that came to mind was how important self awareness is - knowing your own personality, who you are, and what you are about. It sounds easy, but I don't think it is for everyone. For example, as I reflect on my perceived strengths and weaknesses, it isn't always easy to acknowledge my weaknesses/next steps because the areas I lack in are becoming ever more important in an educators toolbox.

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Nevertheless, I thought about and verbalized my weaknesses to a few of my colleagues and that got me started on considering next steps to work on in order to improve myself. By having an awareness of the things that I need to work on, I moved into action (a small one) and talked to one of my teaching partners about it. This provided them with a little bit of an understanding of my perspective and why I do (and don't do) certain things. Fortunately, this led to a great discussion about how we can collaborate in a way that honours who I am and who they are.

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In this case, things seem to be turning out to be positive. I am sure it won't always be that way. We all have to start somewhere and in my case I think I'm off to a good start.

With respect to the Catholic Leadership Framework, self awareness would fall under the "Personal Leadership Resources" pillar. Specifically, my attention is drawn to the "Psychological Resources" subsection. The subsection mentions optimism, self-efficacy, resilience, and proactivity. I believe that being self aware is another important resource. Knowing about yourself will provide you with valuable information about your limits and why you believe and act in certain ways. By knowing these things you can work to change them and/or to minimize the negative impact they may have on others around you. For example, if I am the Principal of a school, I am responsible for effectively working with and providing my best self to those that I work with each day. Therefore it is important that I know my strengths, weaknesses, and have a plan to work on myself in order to minimize negative effects on the school community that I am "leader" of.

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I am certain that I will have good days and bad days as I journey on becoming a better version of myself. Looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Innovation in Education Conference

In cooperation with OECTA, the Board hosted its second annual Education Innovation Conference on April 7 at St. Mary’s (OECTA PD Day - AM). I facilitated a hands-on, open spaces session on the use of Social Media 1) in the classroom to benefit student engagement/achievement, and 2) to assist educators in creating an online professional learning network. 

It was a great experience! I enjoyed connecting with people in the school board that I wouldn't normally get to interact with. I ran two sessions and both were full of questions that affirmed the use of social media in education and pushed back against its use. Great conversation ensued and people left feeling like they had a better understanding of how the use of social media can assist them in their work and growth as educators. 

From a leadership perspective, it was great to present timely and valuable information to my colleagues. With respect to the Catholic Leadership Framework, the work I was engaged in falls under the pillars of Building Relationships and Developing People, Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices, and Improving the Instructional Program. As I meet new people and connect with them I am always encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zone to stretch their thinking and learning.

I look forward to more leadership opportunities where I can connect with people outside of my school in order to positively impact the system.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

WCDSB Digital Learning Progress

Today I participated in an assessment of the digital learning practises that my school board has been engaged in over the past few years. Invited by +Ferdinand Krauss to participate, I was along side 14 other educators in our district to examine and evaluate where we are on our digital learning journey and provide next steps for growth and development.

Using rubrics, we evaluated the following 6 areas:

1. Leadership 
2.Professional Learning
3. Content and Instruction
4. Technology and Infrastructure
5. Data and Assessment

We also provided rationale for our assessment in a Real Time Board that Ferdinand created. While we were working, Ferdinand created a screencast of the group's work. 

Here is a video Ferdinand created about what we were doing today:

Working with +Sean Kritz  and +Amy Shantz , we evaluated the Leadership portion of the overall review.

This experience provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my involvement and experiences as a leader around digital learning. Having been part of, and co-chair, of one of the 21st Century Teaching and Learning Blueprint subcommittees, I have been part of one of our District's major student learning initiatives.

The leadership opportunities that I have participated in have helped me learn about and assist with the five pillars of the Catholic Leadership Framework:

  • Setting Directions
  • Building Relationship and Developing People
  • Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices
  • Improving the Instructional Program
  • Securing Accountability
My leadership experiences around digital learning have provided me with leadership experience, as well as perspectives that benefit what I do at my school to support the students and my colleagues. 

The group will be meeting again to continue the assessment process and to provide thoughts and ideas about next steps that will allow our system to improve upon our digital learning journey. I look forward to reflecting on that experience, particularly on what I can do to help lead to further transformation that will ultimately benefit our students.