Thursday, December 12, 2013

Clean Up in Aisle Three...

There really isn't a clean up needed, but the last hour and a half has felt like I needed a clean up in aisle three.  To be more correct, I was the one who almost needed a clean up, as before I let myself escalate from zero to ten in about 3.9 seconds I grabbed a hold of my thoughts and thought... Leslie, this is crazy!  Relax already!

Could it be all the Christmas hype?  Could it be that there are only 13 more days until the big day?  Could it be because I'm finally feeling the "last week of school before a holiday" type of feeling?  Or, could is simply that I need to breathe?

I think it could be a combination of them all, but tonight's icing on the cake was when I went to log into my course through ETFO (One more day!) to submit my final assignment (YEAH!) and then BAM!  

No Internet! 


Man oh man! 

So, I thought of this reflection I should be writing, the assignment I should be submitting, and those cute kids of mine I should be cuddling with on the couch reading away with (even though they were involved in a heated wrestling match over a new toy)!  Then it dawned on me like an Albert Einstein light bulb moment... TIMS!

Tim Horton's has wifi!  
Tim Horton's has peace!
Tim Horton's allows me to combine 2 things I love: coffee and the Internet!
Tim Horton's is going to save my butt, give me a quick break, and ultimately that breathe of fresh air that I was forgetting to take.

So, here I am!  Making it work!

And you know what?  This moment has helped me write this reflection.  Without this jumbled night, I might not have come to terms about what this course has made me think of.  For you see, sometimes we need a quick reminder that there is another way of doing a thing or two, another chance to make whatever it is work, that we might have not thought of ahead of time.  All we need is someone to share those ideas with us.  Sharing resources, ideas, and time are all huge take aways from my course.  And as much work as this course has been, it's also allowed me to meet and make some pretty cool connections.

This course has broadened my professional learning network, and I know that many of them are only a tweet or a Google Hangout away.  

With the expansion of new relationships comes the sharing of new resources.  The knowledge that so many of my fellow classmates share and have shared are truly amazing!  One of the best parts of this course was even just our twitter hashtag (#etfoaqiict2) and our diigo bookmarks.  The information, pages, and ideas that stemmed from it continue to leave me logging on daily (OK, I'm doing that regualrily, but now with more and more of a purpose), just to read up on what I could be learning.  

So, as awesome as this feeling of being finished is, yes, I'm done (Thanks TIMS for your Internet)!  I also will be looking for that next connection.  That next building block.  That next opportunity to learn something new.  From new faces, from new spaces, and to continue to learn along with my new PEEPS!  

Where are you on your journey?  What's next for you?  I'm going to give it some thought, but I'll let you know soon where my next journey online or offline will be!  I hope you'll join me?

Until then, take my advice, stop and enjoy each day... even with the Christmas craziness upon many of us.  Enjoy the smiles, excitement, and belief from the little people in our lives, and if needed, take a turn to your local TIMS, have a coffee, and breathe!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Red hot in the face, eyes down....

Warning!  This post is a little bit of a rant.  

Dancing with one of my intermediate classes, physical education in primary and a nice chat at recess with a colleague would be the makings for a great day in my world.  And it was.  Until the dreaded happened.

I want you to think back to the last time you were in trouble.  Trouble that made your face feel hot, your eyes lower, and even made you stop whatever you were doing to just replay that exact moment over and over in your head.

Well, the good news is, I'll get over it.  But the bad news is, I'm still steaming mad at the way 'that' all just went down.

Let me explain.  

I know how I learn.  I do.  I'm also quite good at speaking up if I don't understand something, usually after I've tried to figure whatever it is by first doing my own little research project on the answer, AKA by Googling it!  So, when that fails, then I'll 'giddy up' and get help.

Here lies the problem.  When you ask for help and you don't receive the answer you are expecting in your own mind, then it's quite a shock when the person offering the support quickly shuts you down and dismisses your inquiry.

Today I asked how to do X, Y, and Z.  While asking, another participant and I began discuss how to solve my question.  As a group we were just on that very topic and I was simply looking for more info, more clarification, more insight into grasping the new concept.

That's when IT happened.  The TROUBLE.  Basically the "could you be quiet, people are trying to learn here!" speech.

My face grew hot.  My eyes lowered.  And I shut down.

That's it.  I was done.  Done trying to be a collaborator, a problem solver, and even a real participant.

As I write this right now, I'm still quite angry.  Quite hurt.  And even a little embarrassed.  Learning to me is almost emotional.  I see it in my students and I see it in myself.  Can you think of a time when you were so bloody proud because of an accomplishment?  And vise-versa, easily bringing forth a memory of when you failed to do something as well as you had hoped?  That's emotion.  That's learning.  That's LIFE!  

So, what to do?  Well, I thought about speaking to the person who, knowingly or unknowingly made me go silent.  But I still feel to... backhanded if you will?

Then I started thinking how students must feel.  How do we approach them when we are ready to move on and they are still where I was?  Still searching, still 'in' the conversation trying to make whatever concept it is click for them?  How do I react?  How do you react?  After today, I sure as better not ever make a student feel so shut down, so shut off, and to be honest, feel so unvalued.

Because I'm an adult and because I have strategies and supports, I can deal with today.  And I will.
I'm here now, getting it off my chest, trying to make this reflective.  Trying to learn from the feeling.  The best part is, in about twenty minutes I will be carolling with my son, his school choir, and spreading Christmas cheer.  Thank you for listening.  Thanks for hopefully seeing things from my point of view.  Helping me see it from the view of a student, and hopefully engraining this memory in my head as I move forward.