Professional Development

2021 Professional Growth

I have arrived back in Beijing and to the International School of Beijing (ISB) where I am in the middle of my 5th year as a MS PE and Health professional.

As with everyone on the planet, the last year has been very different and as a teacher, this has seen a very huge shift in the way we try to engage with our young people, our colleagues and our pedagogical thinking. Yesterday I read a headline that said Microsoft has gone up 33% in profits from the previous year. It does not surprise me.

In May 2020 I was asked to write a reflection about my professional focus and growth. There are a few personal recommendations about moving forward with online learning and I feel that this is something I am doing better in a few different ways:

  1. I am working hard to use less tools – to stick with known tools and to go slowly – sharing screens, making screencasts, asking students for check-ins and asking them how other teachers are using tools so that we can try and use known tips and tricks that are working in classes.
  2. I am trying to start with a consolidation task where we look at the previous learning and start with some questions and check-ins in our class to see that I have everyone before we begin any new content.
  3. I am continuing to try and create learning templates or organisers where I can, this continues to be a work in progress, as it means that kids have to open this document and in doing that (which seems simple but apparently is not) I lose them along the way.
  4. We are trying to be joyful in our learning, but some days we are not. This is not new – some days inperson aren’t joyful either. We roll with it. We try and use fun tools, apps, games or check-ins so we can reach different students on different days.
  5. I am not trying to do too much on a given day. And we are keeping to the rules of having at least 25 minutes in our lesson as given active time – the kids are saying that they appreciate this, but it can be hard to check in on this and to know if they are being active.
  6. I am trying to offer student voice and choice in options around learning and engagement and communication and collaboration but this again is time consuming and can lead to nothing feeling like it is being accomplished, especially for those very unmotivated ones who are overwhelmed by choice. There is a fine balance here.

This year I am not feeling inspired to look to any particular ‘goal’ as a PE teacher at this stage. I am looking at options around me, and think that at this time, I would like to try and read a professional text each month and write something about it as a blog and how it might relate to me or student learning and what my key take aways might be – or questions I am pondering. I will reach out to my vast twitter network and to our ISB office of learning library to look for texts that speak to me – either professional books that are pedagogical or thinking specific or reserach articles or works that are about Movement or PE – I would like to write something to be published myself this calendar year too.

I have also applied to undertake a course of study to be a more mindful language educator as I work mostly with children who are at least bilingual if not engaged in three of more languages. Amazing.

I have had some conversations with leadership at ISB and with two different university people about taking on a more formal program of study, but again this is not sitting well with me as I feel unhinged to where I am going and what I would like to do at this time. I am not feeling ready to be invested in long years of degree taking. I would like to look at what other options are around me.

My students have not completed a survey on me specifically as their teacher, as I have been in Canberra and online for all of Semester 1, so I have no Tripod evidence or data to analyse or consider. I have been polling students ad lib, there is happiness in being active and having choice, but I am not sure how they feel about me as their teacher – some students I have yet to meet in person.

My conversations with leadership and from my colleagues centre on the knowledge that I am very student-focused/centred. I care about students and try to think about their needs and how to make them feel safe and involved in PE. I am reassured that this is evident in our community.

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