Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 - Here we go again!

Week 1,2 and 3 done and dusted!

As usual I'm slightly behind in my blogging - but I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent this year. Looking forward this year will be fairly big personally. I have some goals that I'd like to achieve, some I can talk about openly, others I'd like to hold closer to the chest until they eventuate.

The school year has started off and for the most part things have settled down. Kids are beginning to get back to the usual routine (this may be good/bad) and as a teacher I've gotten over the 'back to work shock'. MOC is unusual (in a good way) and I believe will probably be the most unique place I work at in terms of a school setting. I say that because we are in such a position of massive potential and change of the 'norm' educational landscape that as teachers we should never let that simply sit without properly reflecting on it.

I've made my displeasure of our current timetable structure fairly open to anyone that wants to listen. I was certainly frustrated that we started 2012 the same way we finished 2011 in that regard however for 'ease' it was necessary. Our student numbers are at max and we have grown to the point of explosion in some age groups. As a school I believe we have this year and possibly early into the next to setup how Years 7-12 will look like for the next 5-10 years.

That is scary and exciting. Some of our leaders went to visit 'High Tech High' in the States over the holidays and came back with eyes wide open to the true possibility of a shift in how we deliver to our upper years. They saw a school that had very high performance results with a population not totally indifferent to ours but with a significantly different way of structuring the day for students.

I won't let what I believe is the most signifcant point of failure for our school simply get quashed by everything that happens in a school as large as ours. Three weeks in and I'm seeing a massive disturbance to me as a teacher. My Year 12 Gaming class is a completely new subject and the difficulties that go with creating another new subject in the school (this will be the 3rd for me in a little over a year) can only be toppled with the ridiculous situation I find myself when I teach these students on a Monday and Tuesday and then don't see them again until Friday lesson 5 (2:10pm).

Knowing me I'll probably begin to setup outside of class times with the kids because I want every single one of them to succeed and make something out of this subject that lasts with them for life - however will every teacher do this? Do they even have to? Why should they?

Without the most solid foundation in English as a student you will certainly struggle when it comes to post high school studies. More than 85% of the students I teach in Years 7,8,10,12 need more time with English. They also need to build a greater love to the art of writing and that is why I'm still pushing to make English something taught across Years 7-10 in the morning for at least an hour across the school.

Be that reading time, a chance for students to create well written podcasts, essay writing sessions, etc etc - our students need more time with structure English lessons that all teachers should be able to deliver. For example why couldn't a current Maths teacher who clearly has the ability to write could take a class on a literature journey into the mathematical messages in Alice in Wonderland (click here).

Every teacher should and could be trained to be able to take one of these morning English workshop sessions.

On a quick side note - Google Docs has been launched across the school. My next blog post will be on the educational outcomes I intend to realise with this tool and the potential behind it regarding ePortfolios.

We have huge mountains to climb and conquer this year. Fear of the unknown is no longer an issue. We have seen and experienced (Smithfield old - MOC 2011 new, Sydney, ULearn, Melbourne, England, USA, Heppell, Crockett, McIntosh), and now we have to rework our school into something more than just standard.



PS. Read this