Friday, 7 August 2015

I'm stepping off the cliff.

As a teacher over the past 12 year I have often encouraged, expected and celebrated when children have taken risks in their learning, jumped out of their comfort zone and had go! Whether this be with new learning, or a challenging task.  One of the many privileges of being a teacher is experiencing those light bulb moments when that child, who takes a risk  and 'steps off the cliff' actually fly's.

As an adult, how often do you do this?  Are you a risk taker?  Do you strive for new learning opportunities, or do you prefer the status quo?

I am very lucky that I work in a school where a culture has been created where teachers are encouraged to 'have a go', or 'try something different'.   If we can come up with the 'Why' (which almost always comes back to raising student achievement, motivation and engagement of our learners), then we are given the green light to 'step off the cliff.'

Two years ago I decided that it was time to 'step of the cliff'.  It was during my time on NAPP (National Aspiring Principals Programme) a lot of the KŌrero was around collaborative teaching, modern learning environments and digital devices.  The more I heard about this, the more I liked.  It was my very own lightbulb moment.

After discussing this at management level I was given the go ahead to approach a colleague of mine, and discuss with her what her thoughts were and if she would be keen to try collaborative teaching, beginning term 1 of 2014.  Luckily for me she shared similar philosophies about education, and was really keen to try something completely different.

So in September 2013 our collaborative teaching journey began.  Fast forward 2 years  and I find myself reflecting on what we have learnt, the failures and the successes (yes the ugly bits are important too).  The reality is that I have learnt more about myself as an educator, leader and learner in the past two years than ever before.  And it's exciting!!

Along with the collaborative teaching journey our school has also been accepted onto the Manaiakalini outreach programme (which is a game changer in my opinion).  This programme is built around the Learn, Create, Share learning model, and uses 1:1 devices (Chrome Books) to engage and enhance learning programmes and of course blogging.  

This year we introduced a class blog to share and celebrate children's learning and also for parents to experience the day to day happenings of our classroom.  The response has  been incredible from children and parents.  Blogging happens daily and captures those moments that need to be seen, heard and celebrated. 

So here I am, writing my first personnel blog post. Why? I see this as a natural progression for myself professionally.  It just makes sense, and ticks a lot of boxes.  I will use this blog to reflect on what I have learnt and capture those light bulb moments.  I also find that this form of reflection brings clarity to what I am doing and where I am going, and also encourages others to put their perspective on the topics discussed.  I welcome all comments queries and questions.  

So in a nutshell this blog is me taking another step off the cliff, as I expect and encourage the children in my class to do.  

Please check Kate's blog (whom I team teach with) and our class blog


  1. Great start Simon! It is a very worthwhile activity putting your thoughts into text, and as you say, it helps clarify your thinking. The work around Learn Create Share you and Kate and doing is leading the way in terms of pedagogy at HPS - thank you for dedication and commitment to children's learning.

  2. Two years! Thanks for convincing me to 'jump off the cliff' with you; it was definitely the push I perhaps didn't realise I needed. I totally agree that we are so lucky to work in a culture where as long as we can justify it, we can try it! After reading your post I can feel another blog post coming on...


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