When you start a new job, there’s always a period of time it takes to feel settled. Last year was that for me. If I’m being honest, it really took the whole year for me to start feeling like my new school was a place where I fit. I don’t think that this is unusual. Starting a new role in a new school means developing relationships with students, staff and other leaders. It means gaining their trust. In a new role you tend to hit the ground running. You are eager to impress… to show people that they’ve made the right call in hiring you. That time is over now. I’m beginning the second year in my role and I feel like I’ve got a handle on what that means. I’ve also had the time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. This isn’t a ground breaking revelation… I think most of us do this all the time.
Last week, some things clicked for me. Any teacher knows that time is a precious thing. There are only so many hours in a day. What we do with those hours is important. I’ve written about the need for balance before and I don’t want to rehash that here, but my thinking has changed a bit. We all struggle with the balance between work and home. Hours at school stretch out and that time at home with the family get encroached upon all the time. This is a constant battle that isn’t going to end any time soon. What I’m struggling with right now is finding balance WITHIN my work life. Reflecting on my new role, I’ve discovered that I’ve lost some things. In particular, I’ve unintentionally removed myself from a network of learners that challenges and pushed MY practice.
A big part of my role is encouraging pedagogical change in others. My job is to prod, push and expose people to consider new ideas and to try new things in their practice. In focussing on this, and feeling time-poor, I’ve stopped exposing myself to people and professional activities that push me.
This year, within my work, I need to make time for this. I have nominated to rejoin the EdTechSA committee and work with others to help shape teaching and learning around digital technologies. The people involved in this group are passionate about what they do and help to spark my thinking. I have already committed to facilitating several workshops for teachers at other sites this year. Doing this, pushes me to think more critically about my practice and keeps me on my toes.
Guiding others is important and I know that this is what my role is about. But I can’t do this properly if I’m not pushing my own learning.