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

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Friday, 25 January 2013

It's all in the mindset

Going back into work this for a few days this week for enrollments meant I had to kick start the old brain into work mode. How nice it has been to be laid back and going at a slightly slower pace. Whenever we are starting something new there is a clear shift in our thinking from what was before to what is now. As I met new students and began to hear their stories I was reminded again that this change for them was important and could be potentially life changing. For many students at TAFE it is a second chance to succeed at an education and for some it is change that could change course of their families' futures and this is why they are there. 
Photo by University of Denver licensed under Creative Commons Attributions License 2.0 Generic 

Change is hard. Some personality types adapt to it better than others. I know as a total control freak sometimes I really struggle with change. I enjoy the challenge that comes with change but sometimes leaving behind the old and familiar to something you can't control or know the outcome can be really scary. I know for many students who are starting kindergarten, year 7 or yr 11 the changes they face as they meet this new milestone in their lives can feel overwhelming. New school, new year, new tasks, new subjects, new friends, new teachers and new routines. A lot to take in when your only little or a bit bigger. I guess my role as a teacher is to help my students adapt to change and support them when they feel overwhelmed. I find just being there as a sounding board for my students seems to help. I enjoy being part of their journey and find that a shared journey is much more rewarding than one that you go on alone. There is always light at the end of the tunnel or a way to get help when you need it. Sometimes the answer can come from the simplest of places. 

For me this year is a big unknown. I am hoping to get my business underway and have a meeting this week with the coordinator of public schools for the Central Coast on Tuesday. I am hoping to really work out how I am going to market my courses to schools, principals, head teachers and teachers. I am very excited that all DET schools will have access to Google this year and I am hoping to train teachers to use these products for the benefit of their students. 

Time for the mindset to change. Last year is behind me and I 
look forward to what will come this year. Whilst we still have enrollments this week and won't be starting teaching until the 4th I have time to think and prepare. 

Having been without my laptop for a week and I haven't had the time to surf for great sites. Will get back into the swing this week. 

All the best to my teaching pals for the week ahead. 

Until next week,

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reading for pleasure, imagination stimulation

Image by PresenterMedia.com
I had really good intentions during the holidays to maintain my blog however even the best laid plans don't come to fruition. I have spent time in the hols catching up on some reading and particularly enjoying catching up on the English journals I subscribe to. Last year being the Year of Reading created so much rich material to use in class and food for thought. Darcy Moore's article in Issue 3 of Metaphor 'Social Reading: Fad or Future?' p.46, discussed how social reading through ebooks and online chat about books has created a new wave in sharing views on books and different ways we can engage with books through online bookmarking, blogging and sharing quotes on Twitter. The evolution on how we read for enjoyment is changing and I love being part of that change.
Image by PresenterMedia.com

 I also enjoyed Andrew Wright's article in the same issue, p.59, Why does reading matter?' He notes, "Once the words are there, on paper, the mind of the reader must take over from the words of the writer; interpretation is the key to the message..." He gave many examples of great books and why they are great. Everyone loves a good story with great plot and  is rich with interesting characters. It is these elements that will always remain at the heart of any good story and it is using these elements we try and tease out great stories from our students as they each come to us with unique imaginations just waiting to be unleashed. 

With busy careers, demanding assessment tasks, families, friends and commitments it is sometimes hard to fit reading for pleasure into our day however we can't expect our students to do the same if we can't prioritize some time to stimulate our imaginative muscle in our brains. I find reading can help break other busy thoughts and leave them in limbo for a bit and so giving myself time to go back and think somethings through from a new perspective. 

Apart from reading some great books in the hols I have been preparing to launch my business. With my Endorsement from the NSW Teacher's Institute I will be hitting the pavement in the coming weeks peddling my wares and convincing teachers that IT training is an important way of learning and communicating with our students. 

I look forward to another year of blogging and sharing with those in my Professional Network and have appreciated all the comments and feedback over the last year. 

Favorite sites for the week:

Learning in online affinity spaces

Some interesting apps,

12 Principles of Mobile Learning

A really cool gizmo I would love to have- hottest tech gadget for 2013
Read write

Until next week,