In a recent post, Matt Esterman looked back on what he has learned this year. He touched on the lessons learned professionally, as an entrepreneur and personally. He ended with an invitation to share the lessons that you have learned this year.
For me, a lot has happened this year. I have watched in amazement as our youngest daughter has developed from a baby to a toddler. I remember being caught up by every stage with our eldest, but with two life seems to fly.
In addition to this, I changed jobs. After spending a quarter of my life at my previous school, I decided to completely change tact. Not only did I move sectors, but I also went from the role of a classroom teacher to being a technology implementation coach located in a central office.
The area in which I have learned the most though is as a parent of a school age child. It is not that our daughter had not been to kindergarten, but the step up into primary school has been steep. Going from a center with fifty students to a school with near on a thousand has brought about its own set of challenges. I think that there has been three distinct lessons:
- Dual Roll: I am so glad that my daughter did not start at the school I taught at. I have found the balance between teacher and parent really interesting, in particular online. It is not that I haven’t had a dual roll before, being both a member of the community, as well as a local educator. This was especially the case in the country. What I have learned is that connections are always complicated.
- Empathy: I have worked in Prep classes before and supported various teachers in a number of ways. However, there is something uncanny when it is your child and you live with them every day. I feel a deeper sense of appreciation for Prep teachers and the various challenges faced.
- Communication: A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend Google Teachers Academy (now the Google Certified Innovator Program). I left with the question, how might we engage parents in a cultural shift to make relationships and connections the focus of learning? I had toyed with creating a website to communicate ideas with the community, but had always felt constrained in going further. My daughter’s school have seemingly taken up this challenge by maintaining a Facebook Page for every class. However, where have I been? Although my wife loves it, I barely get on it, refusing to go on Facebook on my phone, actually refusing to go on Facebook much at all. In addition to this, I am unsure of the expectations within this space. Am I meant to comment? Converse with others? Like? What this has taught me is that communication and connections involve more than just a website and at some point need to be made explicit.
So that is me and some of the lessons learned this year. I am not trying to suggest that those without children could not experience these things. They are my experiences and I would argue that they are unique to my situation.
So what about you? What have you learned this year? As always, feel free to share.
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