2015 went by so fast and I expect that 2016 will be equally as busy (more likely busier). With taking on new challenges and responsibilities, I found there were a few things that I value that I neglected which have become critical to my personal growth and wellbeing. This year I hope to be better!
One personal attribute that I value is that of my curiosity and willingness to try anything at least once. This has opened so many doors for me because I don’t shy away from opportunities. Essential to this process of curiosity and exploration is time to reflect. When I don’t deliberately commit time and space to think, reflect, review and explore, I limit my capacity to see potential opportunities or create new experiences.
Something that has always resonated, in regards to being creative, is something that author Michael Morpurgo said in an interview with Sir Michael Parkinson back in 2012. When asked what advice he would give to young writers, he encouraged living an interesting life; keeping your eyes, ears and heart open, reading (a lot) and going to interesting places and experiencing interesting events. I think critical to this is being able to take time to reflect on these experiences whether they be professional or personal, exploring what impact they may have or what it was indeed that made them good, bad or other.
In reading Innovators Mindset by George Couros, he identifies “Time for Reflection” as a critical to any innovative learning environment. He quotes John Dewey “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience”. There is nothing to disagree with here, deeper learning requires time to consolidate our understandings and develop connections to our prior learning. How often we are deliberate about ensuring time for this to occur, whether that be in the classroom or beyond, will surely impact on the nature of the learning and any opportunity for improvement or innovation.
So this year I hope to be more deliberate about creating time to reflect; for myself, for my peers and for students.
This past month has been a busy one as the school year came to a close. It is always a time for reflection and review, but more so this year with a whole range of new leadership opportunities arising in our school and the reality of some revered and inspiring leaders exiting stage left. This has meant an opportunity for personal reflection and formal and informal conversations with a range of people both at the beginning and the end of their school leadership journey.
One consistent aspect of both these groups of people, is that they did not wait for the title to demonstrate their professionalism, their passion, and their unwavering and uncompromising commitment to improvement. Instead they acted upon it daily.
Lesson learnt…. if you aspire to be a Lead Teacher, Coordinator, Senior Leader, Deputy, Principal or beyond….. don’t wait, start operating like one; speak up, support, encourage, challenge and advocate, dress and commit like one on a daily basis.
A special shout out to a unique individual, an inspiring woman, who retires from her official education role, but whom I know will still support the development of others for a long time to come. She has tolerated my constant challenging and questioning and still nurtured and supported me, especially in recent times.
Every once in a while something happens to disrupt assumptions or short term expectations. This happened recently and good, bad or otherwise it is an important process to go through to reflect and examine that which is most important and valuable in the path we wish to forge.
It is easy at times to follow the road which has been laid ahead, and it is easy when opportunities are available to go with what is expected, but this does not necessarily lead us to where we truly want to be. I have done this before and it is not something I want to repeat again, but instead keep in check that what I do each and every day is meaningful and leading ultimately to the realisation of an important purpose, self-fulfilment and even a legacy, knowing that I have impacted upon the lives of others (hopefully many) for the better.