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

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Sunday, 26 January 2014

How to have a fresh start...

In my life there are some things that never go to plan. For many people making New Years resolutions is the way to go but I have found that I am not too good at keeping them. However a new year can sometimes feel like a new beginning. It has dawned on me today that for many children and adults this year will be a fresh start. Perhaps a new school, uni or TAFE college. It might be that you may have decided that you need to change how you do things this year and in that case join me in a fresh start. 

Image by presentermedia.com
Most people that I know don't like change. Some people feel anxious, lonely, confused, sad and stressed.
Change means putting behind the past in order to move forward to the future. Whenever we embark on something new it means we have to adapt and either face new challenges or face our fears that may be holding us back. Life will never be stagnant. In an ever changing world workers are being pushed through either technology, social pressures and economic factors to adapt... to change.. to be a chameleon in a world where the skills we possess today may not even exist in the future. So why all the philosophy? 

Change means putting behind the past in order to move forward to the future. 

This week due to circumstances beyond my control I am having to broaden my career opportunities. Whilst I will continue to teach at TAFE, (because I love it) I am also pursuing some other avenues to share my love of technology. In my classes I have seen how it can help break down social and economic barriers and build confidence and self esteem to people who otherwise have struggled to use technology and have felt ostracized  and disconnected because they lacked confidence to engage in a technologically driven world. So I have booked in some dates with the NSW Teachers Institute to deliver my courses to teachers who will educate the next generation of technology savvy and creative young people. You can check out these courses at eLearning Educational Solutions

So how do you have a fresh start? I have decided to embrace change. My deep faith in God also means I know I will be fine. I have established a network of family and friends who love me and support me whatever happens. I decided to have a 'brain dump' the other day and wrote down all my skills and options for the future on 3 big pieces of paper using coloured pens and pencils. I then devised a plan and now have a place to start. I have invested in a yearly calender (thanks to these ideas from my good friend @salifix - Twitter). I have begun to map out when and where things will be happening in my life and how I will fit everything in. So being somewhat of a control freak I am beginning to see that I can accomplish more than I thought I could. The future is brighter than it seemed. 

If you have new students or new colleagues to your school or institution this year then spare a thought for what they might be facing. Making a change and or being part of the change can be daunting but not impossible. 

I do wish all my teaching friends and colleagues a great teaching year! 

Some interesting articles I stumbled across... 

"New pedagogy" activated by technology transforms classrooms

Until next week,

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Every organisation needs a heart beat

After enjoying the spoils of the festive season I feel refreshed, revitalised and ready to go again. So with this in mind it is back to my blog for 2014. Hugh MacKay has commented on numerous occasions that we all feel the desire to be part of a tribe. Over Christmas there were many tribal moments with my family. Some good, some bad however being part of a family tribe means you have to stick to it long term through thick and thin. 

This idea has been festering in my brain over the last few weeks as I really want to nut out why I enjoy working so much and what it is that keeps me connected to this 'tribe' more so than any other organisation I have worked for. If you think of a family unit each member plays a role. Doesn't matter what sort of family you have each person will bring to it their unique personality quirks and interests. So too with organisations. Organisations are made of up people with different skills sets, experiences, ages, gender and personality types. So if all organisations contain these things how is it that some organisation appear to do things exceptionally well and others do it really badly?  I have come to the conclusion that it is the heartbeat that matters. People who care about integrity, hard work and have some sense of a moral compass are the ones who drive passion, innovation and are fearless about change and push ahead to improve the lives of their customers, employees and the society they live in. 

Image by Deborah Copper-Asbury
Now these ideas are not new to anyone and one would think they contain a fair amount of common sense however I see that there is a great cost involved in order for these values to be maintained in an organisation. After reading the article TAFE in the era of skills reform by Pat Forward it has kindled in me a desire to see what is the motivation behind what I do in my job. I share many of the frustrations outlined by Leesa Wheelahan in her interview but wonder how one person like myself can ever make a difference? It is middle class teachers and students who are the heartbeat of the organisation. TAFE would be responsible for a huge percentage of the population gaining employment and skills for the duration of their working lifetime and yet it is having a triple bypass at the moment and will never be as it was. So in the face of such sadness I seek out the heartbeat at the start of a new year. 

With a new year comes new opportunities, new students and the same passionate, professional, intelligent and innovative teachers I get to work with each and everyday. Each semester I have worked at TAFE I have been inspired by my students to be a better teacher and am continuously reminded that the social justice role TAFE plays in my community is met through dedicated, experienced and highly qualified teachers who seek to nurture and encourage all aspects of our students and it's not all about delivering a product. 

The heartbeat of an organisation is not always measured by a $ sign. Those who value the strengths of this organisation need to be vocal, professional  and consistent in showing those who do make decisions that the heartbeat of TAFE has had long term success and prosperity to our society and continuous cost cutting will have a long term impact on our society. 

Whilst I am not in the habit of writing political blogs I can't remain silent because I am part of the change. I want to be part of the change and in my own way I am part of the heartbeat that educates adults in our nation to be confident and courageous life long learners who contribute effectively in our society. 

So be the change in your organisation and be the change each and everyday. 

Until next week,