Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”. At Te Akau ki Papamoa we believe “A school’s culture resides first and foremost in the hearts and in the soul of it’s teachers”. Take a moment to think about where your culture and the culture of the students you teach resides.
We have a 'Know me before you teach me' philosophy and during the first 6 weeks of every year (and when any new learner starts) we take the opportunity to really get to know them, where they are from, what their passions are and what really makes them tick. We believe when a learner truly feels like they belong and the teacher has made that effort to get to know them and their culture is acknowledge the learning comes easier, they feel valued and supported for who they are.
At the end of January I attended and co facilitated a retreat for our Senior teachers and leadership team, we shared stories and learnt so much about each other that we had not known even after years of working together, a truly valuable experience. We also focused on what was our 'Category 1', what we had control over and what we should let go (someone else Category 1!). We explored what it meant to be a 'flagpole holder' or the swimmer who dives head first and swims for the island....we considered this in relation to the teams that we were responsible for. Powerful professional development.
We started our school year with teacher only days which were more focused on team building and culture rather than the mundane nuts and bolts that we may have previous. Our retreat had impacted on us as leaders.
I ran professional development for teachers throughout the month on the introduction of Seesaw across our school. We had always been successful at capturing student voice and this was another tool to ensure we had strong connections with whanau. We started with more purpose and clearer guidelines than our previous blogging platform, we were hoping for quality not quantity.
I continued to connect online with other ADE's via Twitter and other social media platforms. I published a multi touch book to support early years teachers and learners in getting to know their students better.
All About Me https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-about-me/id1330815802?mt=11