"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Saturday, 23 June 2012

What to do when students fail?

This last week has been such a sobering week for me. There are have been great highs and some real lows and am feeling really emotionally exhausted at the end of this semester. During the week I was able to attend several celebrations for some of my students who had completed their certificate courses. For some it has been a life changing event for them. For those of you that have been following my blog you will know that I teach a class of older learners who are trying to re-enter the workforce. Quite a few of them were able to get jobs as a result of this course and others have decided to continue to re-train for a new career. The feedback from the students was so amazing and they were beaming with confidence and pride. I was really chuffed for them. 

There was however a small group of students who didn't hand in their last task so unfortunately they haven't completed the course. I felt that in some way I had failed them. I woke at 3am on Thursday morning with this sick feeling in my gut they I had failed them because they didn't complete. I had tried so many times to help them finish and encouraged them but when it came to pen and paper or just turning up to class for one reason or another they were unable to succeed. I know now that it was always their choice and not mine to put pen to paper but I was still sad they were not able to complete. Unfortunately the State Budget was announced this week and we have all had our hours cut. That has meant that I have lost my HSC class as the classes were combined. I have managed to get quite attached to these students and yet again I was feeling rather sad at my loss. However I have managed to pick up a new TPC (Tertiary Preparation Certificate) course instead next term. 

When you are in a job that is very relationship driven you can't not be affected by the lives of people you come across. As a teacher you are not a rescuer, perhaps a friend, coach, facilitator or trainer but the power of the people always remains in their decisions to succeed or fail. It is not to say that we wipe our hands and pretend those students who don't finish never existed in our lives but not to feel their loss in your class is what  makes us human. "No man is an island"- John Donne. This really sums it up. I do hope and pray that at some time in their lives these students who may appear to have failed on paper have gained skills and experiences that they can use in life. I do find this part of the job rather difficult. Perhaps it is because I care too much. However I am not about to change anytime soon as I know that this aspect of my personality also makes me a good teacher. 

I am really looking forward to the holidays so I can put my feet up and catch up on some blog reading. I really enjoy reading other blogs as much as I like writing my own. I have had some wonderful feedback from friends and fellow bloggers in the last week and I thank you for all you support. @Innovatemyschool has asked me to be a guest blogger and I am really chuffed. Thanks. Looking forward to sharing. 

Unfortunately I have had no time for surfing the net for good ideas. Was looking for some new apps for my ipad this week but nothing really grabbed my attention. Must get into it in the hols. 

Thanks for reading my musings for the week. 

Until next week,

Sunday, 17 June 2012

It's all in the detail

There are times in your life when it would be great to cut corners. Whilst I am sure we have all tried to from time to time it usually ends up badly. It has been hard at times to see students who are genuine in their attempt to finish something but lack the finishing touches. I remember when I was at uni and I couldn't understand why they were so nick picky about bibliographies but I can definitely see the value in the detail. It is in this detail that true recognition is given to the author for an idea,  or perhaps research that has been quoted that substantiates a belief or value.

 There are many times when educators harp on about plagerism but for some a quick copy and paste is worth the risk to get the job done. It really doesn't matter what type of technology is used if you know your students the voice in the writing is clearly not theirs and it sticks out like a sore thumb. For those students who write using correct technique and quotations their success lies in the good marks they receive. True power and dignity come to those who have overcome their battles with integrity and truth. It is only then that pride shines through as their success is well and truly earned. 

Had a bit of a shocker this week and dropped the ball a few times. Accidently sent the kids to school in mufti one day only to be emailed by their teachers informing me it was mufti next week. They were the only kids in school with mufti. Then I had booked the computers in the library and forgot to take the students there. Forgot to have lunch with friends. You know it was one of those days. So I guess my only option was to laugh, rather than cry in frustration and move on. Work /life balance crashed and burned this week. Thanks goodness I am only human and there is next week. At least the kids get a second chance at mufti this week!

This week am looking forward to some celebrations with students who have finished their 6 month courses. A time of reflection is also on the cards for the students and myself. I have already been talking with my colleagues about the things that worked well and things I am planning on changing in the next six months. I am running a training sessions for some teachers on Google Docs on Thursday and am looking forward to that. On Friday the Work Place training guys are visiting for the day at Wyong and I am planning on picking their brains for some Moodle suggestions. The week after next I am going to a Careers Expo with another colleague at Corronbong to represent TAFE and inform potential students of the courses that are available. 

All in all a busy few weeks. Am looking forward to the holidays. 
Favorite sites for this week:
A great way to video conference

Participated in an online conference on how TAFE is using ipads. Very interesting

A tool for making quizzes. Haven't tried but looks good. 

Until next week,