It has been a long time since I have blogged on here. I have been working with lots of people and some of the work has been consolidating what we started and can be read on previous posts. Lately my visits have become different. The teachers I am working with are beginning our one-on-one sessions. Before I have even opened my laptop they are talking about what they have done and can I fix this problem or saying "I have a list for you..."Teachers are really directing the sessions.
There is some really fantastic and innovative thinking and work happening. I am really looking forward to the mini-conference where people will present their action research and show their work from this year. Dave and I worried that we would have to beg people to present at the mini-conference, we might need to do a bit of pleading but plenty of teachers have contact us immediately and are happy to present which is encouraging.
One thing that is very noticeable, when I have asked people to share at the conference, is their first reaction- that their work is not as good as others and it probably would be of no interest to anyone else. I think this is just a natural reaction. I have been challenging people to see that everyone has completed a different project and have approached it in unique ways. That is of interest to people. Some people have had amazing growth and change over the year but feel that as they started as one teacher described "as a blank canvas" they can not do all of the whizzy things that others can do.
I think that it is very important for these people to present. For two reasons:
They are fantastic reminders of the change that has happened, and change is sometimes so gradual we do not notice it ourselves or in others.
And it is important that everyone in our cluster sees themselves in some of the presenters.
One of the teachers I spoke with last week felt that technology did not come naturally to her and it has been such a frustrating, but in the end rewarding, process. She thought her work was perhaps not a very good example of action research because she hated it so much to begin with and she probably did it wrong. I think her voice is the most valuable for people that felt the same. We had a fantastic conversation about learning and challenge and getting the right balance between the two. She explained how she avoided difficult things at the beginning of her ICT journey because she was worried that things might go wrong. Now she looks for things she can't do and is confident that she will be able to work them out eventually.
She was so pleased with the outcomes of her action research and all that she had learnt from it. Until we looked through the results and had this discussion she said she would have said the process was largely a waste of time. It wasn't until it was finished and she could see the whole thing come together and reflect on it, she realised what she had achieved.
I think the best is yet to come for her. She has largely been working away on this without many people realising what she has been doing. If she does present at the mini conference I think the feedback she gets from other teachers will take her thinking to another level.