And just like that, another year is over! Reflecting back on 2013, it has been a year of great change. I have made significant changes to my teaching practice, based on new learning, understandings and ideas that I have gained this year. I am incredibly grateful to have had my term sabbatical and it was an awesome opportunity - although I could have spent the whole year on my topic and not run out of avenues to pursue.
Looking forward to next year, I will be taking on a team leader role within my school as well as having some time to implement some digital initiatives which I am really excited about. In Year 3/4 we will have a team of 6 teachers. At the moment we are planning to work in teams of 2 for most of the time, but also teams of three and sometimes even a team of 6. We are all excited to be moving forward after trialling and experimenting with lots of formats and ideas this year.
When we grouped our students into new classes for 2014, we sorted the classes into " power groups", not traditional class groupings. We then separated the students into two homebases, mostly for management and pastoral care reasons - eg. school roll, talking with parents. We kicked off our traditional " Meet the Teacher" afternoon, by getting together with both teachers and classes, trying to send the message to our students initially that they have more than one teacher and a wide range of fellow learners.
At this stage I think our challenges will be:
Changing the traditional understanding of the role of a teacher and a class, for both students and parents.
Constantly reflecting on our practice to ensure we are not slipping back into "what's comfortable".
Developing " collective responsibility" among our teachers for all students.
Refining and improving systems that ensure quality assessment and reporting information is available to students and their families, in an efficient and purposeful way.
I'm sure their will be more - stay tuned in 2014!
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.