Earlier this year, each teacher at ISB was asked to set some Professional Goals. You can read about mine here.
I always find this process to be challenging. My reflections on this challenge are that prior to Covid, I had a very specific set of goals and strict discipline about it. This was clear in the training I was doing for 70.3 Ironman with the hope to get into my age group for Worlds. It was clear in the Professional courses I chose to commit to and the connections to the work I was focused on in our PE and Health curriculum and department. During Covid, I found that my motivation waned. I had no control over the way others were choosing to handle the pandemic, we were isolated from family, there were no conferences to attend, no races to focus forward to and people were leaving. I am still feeling some of that lack of commitment from myself even though things are reopened, races are on the calendar, and PD is up and running. I am not up and running to that capacity yet.
However, professionally, I set myself some goals.
- To use Microroutines with students. While we were online, I tried hard to use these to engage students in thinking and to lift more of the lesson with a captivating start. Feedback from students was that they didn’t mind this online but in-person they wanted to be active! Fair enough. During Health classes I used routines and really focused on being super organised prior to lessons to be able to engage in hard topics more – to free up my working memory to listen, paraphrase, support and notice what was going on.
- Classroom management + content knowledge + care – feedback from Tripod and from student surveys indicated they felt I needed to do more with students when they weren’t behaving as they should be. I have gone back to putting this into student’s hands, talking more about how to be a super participator, collaborator and teammate and how this starts with yourself. I have also pulled more students aside, contacted more parents about great-behaved students and been really honest at Parent-Teacher conferences where I needed to be. I think that this has helped to have clearer expectations in my class and clearer consequences for students out of line. I have looked more at Care from a different lens of being more expert in my field (or inviting experts in to share) and asking students who have the expertise to model and lead and scaffolded this for them. I have also worked hard to get to know students in and out of class – go and watch them perform, create, play, and find out more about their lives to support their journey. We have also started celebrating things in our class as a closing moment – supporting people’s achievements or participation in events to be more aware of the variety of things our class do on a weekly basis.
- Transition to Leadership – I have completed some different Leadership training courses. One external through NESLI Women’s Middle leadership in Australia and one internal PD focused on strategies from Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion as well as Challenging Conversations, Systems for keeping organised and communication strategies as a leader. I have also been to Gender-based Identity and Belonging in International Schools, CIS’s Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism workshops, Child Protection training (CIS) and led up our school’s CIS/NEASC Accreditation work and now am onboarding for my new role as MS Assistant Principal with work on Discipline and Classroom Management and learning more about the naunces of working with students as we unpack a lot of what is going on mostly on social media!
- HS PE Dept – it has also been wonderful to focus on being a part of this HS PE team. There were clear needs when it came to curriculum documentation and using DX, and writing rubrics to separate out Student as a Learner (behaviour) from Academic grades, this has been a big part of the year for me so that we can really focus on not hitting students academically for behaviours that they need to practice and work on. I have been super happy to see this change.
Tripod this Spring was higher than Autumn – I am not sure I feel too much about this anymore, it is just another piece of data to look at and consider but when I unpack it with the students, they can’t give me any tangible ways they would like to see me make improvements. I asked them to give me a Star rating (1 being poor/ 5 being great) about a number of my lessons (Health and PE) – it was good to get some feedback and put it into action but I did wonder how the students saw these efforts and changes and how they used those in their Tripod assessments…
I love teaching students. I am excited for next year in a new role and still working with students in the office but also coaching and being in lessons – I am curious about what is to come and feel I have put myself in a position to be more prepared for what is to come.
Thanks to my HS PE Department, to the Office of Learning, to the MS Leadership and Accreditation teams as well as the coaches I have worked with – it has been a super year!