As I near the end of a summer filled with thoughts of overarching themes in the education system, as I ‘cook’ my thoughts and my learning from the culmination of my graduate coursework, and as I continue to read and engage online with virtual colleagues who constantly motivate and inspire me, I noticed a shift in my mental mindset this week as I planned and prepared for the start of the school year.
At times I feel relaxed. Maybe it’s because I’m teaching the same grade for the 2nd year in a row. That’s a favourite because I’m finished with the hectic pace of teaching something for the first time (I’ve been a first year teacher five years of my fifteen year career) but while the situation is familiar, it’s also relatively new because it’s only the second year so the inherent excitement of novelty is still attached.
Other times I feel very grounded. I do feel a certain, new confidence in myself as an educator. The Masters degree allowed me to find a solid theoretical and methodological basis for not only who I am as an educator, but also why I teach the way I do. I am more sure of what’s important to me and my ever-evolving pedagogy. I feel my ‘peeps’ with me, bolstering, offering support, adding to my life’s work.
And then, at times, I feel unsettled, uncomfortable. As I plan, I notice that I am engaging in the planning process in an entirely new way. After fifteen years of teaching, I’m doing things radically different; if that’s not transformative learning then I don’t know what is.
What’s different? I’m faster. I’m able to use social media to ask experts questions and get almost immediate answers. I’m able to find excellent, relevant resources quickly. I know myself better so I’m able to sift through and discard the irrelevant with much more certainty.
But it’s more than that. I think in a different way. I have a heightened awareness of the different layers of thinking in everything I do whether I’m talking with a colleague or planning a math unit. I have a clearer sense of what I think to be important and I am aware that the kids needs are much more in my mind as I go.
It’s exciting and a little unsettling at the same time. I am excited about the start of the year. I can’t wait to see the students next week. I know my passion to work with children and help them along in life is an strong as ever. The tricky part is, as I wrote in an earlier post, that after my MEd learning I need to learn how to walk differently as I move through my classroom, my school, my home, my community. That’s the part I’m still adjusting to. And it’s uncomfortable. But that’s okay. That uncomfortable feeling only means I’m still learning and that is a state of being uncomfortable that I’m pretty sure I can handle.
Imagery: iEllen by boeke from Flickr.com