Our school year has now reached an end. I thoroughly enjoyed it! As a new Head of Year, it was full of challenges, risks, successes and (inevitably) some mistakes. I have undoubtedly been in my ‘stretch zone’ and gladly embraced it. No other school year has grown me like this one did.
Before the summer break really kicks in, I like to take this opportunity every year to reflect and set some goals for next year. As always, my blog keeps me accountable and ensures that my ‘someday’ goals actually happen.
Here are ten aims that I have for next year:
- Lead a workshop at a PYP Network event
In a previous blog post, Public speaking F.E.A.R., I shared my fear of public speaking and my determination to “Face Everything And Rise”. I’m working on it and slowly becoming more comfortable and confident. I have continued to grab opportunities to present at various events. The next step is to lead longer workshops with more interactivity. I have some ideas up my sleeve for the next PYP Network event and I am excited to take this next risk.
- Transition towards TCRWP
As a school, we are gradually adopting the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project by Columbia University. It has been highly successful in the lower years because of its thoughtful and gradual implementation, one year at a time. Next year will be a transition year for us in Year Four as we prepare to introduce it in the 2019-20 academic year. I want to use this time to familiarise myself with the methods, ideas and routines of this new programme.
- Continue to work on my #OneWord2018
I chose ‘balance’ as my one word for 2018, with the aim of balancing different areas of my life in order to be healthier, happier and more rounded. I still struggle with this juggling act and still don’t dedicate enough time to certain areas. It is something that I need to continue working on. In his book, Lead with Culture, principal Jay Billy outlines his very successful daily routine. Similarly, I need to be intentional about making time and balancing different aspects of my life. I will come up with a plan over the summer and start the next academic year as I mean to go on.
- Get into more Year Four classrooms
As a new Head of Year, I wasn’t pushy about going into other classes. Perhaps I should have been. Rather, my hope was to be invited. All Year Four teachers invited me occasionally, but some more frequently than others. I really enjoyed my time in the classes and I hope that the teachers and students enjoyed having me there. I always had a purpose, usually to share something, support in some way, or to learn from my colleagues. The classes that I visited most frequently were the ones that I had a better connection with. I love building relationships with more students and it is something that I will do more of next year.
- Explore the Microsoft Educator Community page
Thanks to Niko Lewman, I have recently discovered the Microsoft Educator Community. This site is packed with free courses and professional development opportunities. As a Google school, we don’t use Microsoft Office. However, there’s a lot more to the site than just those expected tools. I’d like to explore Minecraft and Skype courses, for example. There’s also a course about the UN Global Goals. I’m a huge advocate of self-learning so I’m excited to find so many opportunities in one place!
- Complete some substantial first aid training
A few months ago, I attended a short first aid training event that outlined the basics. It was a useful introduction but, truth be told, I still don’t feel qualified to administer first aid in a real-life situation. One afternoon wasn’t enough to fill me with confidence. However, I do recognise the importance of first aid and it is something that I would like to pursue. Next year, I will seek a more practical, in-depth course.
- Continue Google training
In January, my application was accepted and I officially became a Google for Education Certified Trainer. This is a role that I am passionate about and very proud of. Along with our digital literacy coaches, I have been supporting some colleagues through the process of becoming Google Certified Educators at Level 2. We offered weekly training opportunities and those participants recently passed their exams. I am thrilled for them and proud to have been involved. Going forward, I’d like to continue offering Google training, at any level, to colleagues/parents who would like it. I benefit from it as much as the participants do (possibly more).
- Complete the necessary steps to become a Google Certified Innovator
At this time last year, I had no expectation of becoming a Google Trainer. It was on my ‘someday’ list but I didn’t have the drive because I assumed that it was out of reach. As part of my school’s coaching initiative, I started the process and set targets for myself. I was actually closer than I realised. My coaching targets kept me accountable. I completed the tasks, submitted my application and was successful. Becoming a Google Certified Innovator is the next step in my journey. I’m not entirely sure what I need to do or what the application involves, but I will start next year. It’s a big goal, but so was Google Trainer. I can at least make a start.
- Identify more opportunities for STEM
At the end of the year, I invited my students to complete a survey about my teaching and their Year Four experience generally. Many of the students shared that their most memorable learning engagements were the few STEM challenges that were sprinkled throughout the year. These were probably my most memorable teaching experiences as well! We all loved these opportunities and the learning was immense. It is my aim to identify more authentic STEM links in our curriculum and provide more of these experiences.
- Strengthen the connection with Room to Read
My last blog post was about the wonderful work that Room to Read does and our beneficial connection with them. This partnership is already strong and meaningful, but I aim to take it to new heights next year. We will work together to raise even more funds, offer more workshops to our students, support more year levels, and even visit one of the sites around Asia/Africa. We are very honoured that their founder, John Wood, has offered to come to speak to our students. We are currently trying to find time in his busy schedule. Very exciting! The organisation truly deserves all of the support that we can offer them and we benefit as much as they do.
What are your goals for next year? How has your school year been? Please share your reflections in the comments section below. I love connecting with you all. Just for fun, also share your summer plans. I’ve just returned from our PTA trip to Nagoya, Japan. The rest of the summer will include Spain, Portugal, a brief spell at home in England and eventually Sri Lanka towards the end. It’s going to be a busy one! Whatever you do, I wish you all an exciting and relaxing summer break. We deserve it!
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