As I begin my third year in a system role it can be easy to reflect on how different the week before the school year looks when outside of a classroom. Instead of setting up a classroom, organizing repertoire and resources, and putting final touches on community building activities for my new students, I’ve found myself trying to finish off my summer professional reading list, updating and sharing our system website/resources, and connecting with teachers to provide support and ideas. However, in the same way that I’d be making long range plans and planning the first few days of the semester for students, I find myself putting together a long range plan of professional learning opportunities and learning ventures. (It should be a great year at that… lots of new #mathed professional learning opportunities, STEAM 2016, Google Summit, presenting at NCTM 2016, etc…).
I experienced a similar feeling this past summer while on vacation in Europe of all places! While visiting Scotland, I was able to meet up with a friend (@MoF31) who moved back to Scotland from London approximately 10 years ago. At that point, we were colleagues at the martial arts studio that I used to teach at and manage. Simultaneously, I was preparing to enter the teaching profession while she was working as a researcher at Robarts Research Institute. Fast forward these 10 years and now we are both working as math educators and teacher leaders… me as Learning Coordinator for my school board and she as an assistant head teacher and math PD facilitator. Who knew that after meeting each other as martial arts students (who had a particular inclination to find the best pressure points and angles to hit and kick at!) 15ish years ago who spent time discussing how to teach a certain self defence technique or organize a kickboxing drill, we would now spend hours discussing Math Talks, 3 Act Math Tasks, WODB’s, inquiry learning, facilitating PD and more while driving around the Scottish coast.
Throughout this summer, I also had the opportunity to meet up with a few of my former students who have not only studied to become qualified (math!) teachers, but are now joining TVDSB. In the same manner that we used to spend classes exploring curriculum and building a community in the classroom, I now find myself acting in the role of a mentor and support for my students-turned-colleagues. They all come with great energy and ideas and I know will make a difference in their classrooms – one even back at Banting this fall!
It may seem more than a little cliché, but if nothing else this summer truly reminded me that ‘the more things change… the more they stay the same.‘
Until next time…