This week I had the opportunity to share my learning journey with a group of new educators as part of a panel at Lakehead University. I was asked many thoughtful questions about my passion for learning and teaching, how to integrate technology, best practices for differentiation, inquiry and assessment, key lessons I have learned over the course of my career and advice for future teachers. As I shared my experiences from the classroom, continuous themes came up around building relationships with students, colleagues and families, listening to student voice, assessment and being an active learner that reflects. Participating in this discussion was an incredibly reflective experience. I had to think carefully about what is important to me as an educator so that I could clearly communicate my ideas about learning and teaching.
The last question that Catherine asked was if I had any advice to share. My response was to challenge the students to become reflective, connected, educators that ask lots of questions. To start small by opening a professional Twitter account, starting a blog or finding a mentor to push your thinking.
I’m lucky that I have many amazing mentors in my life. Where do I find these amazing people? I connect at conferences, on Twitter and with my colleagues and I share my thinking. Making my thinking visible becomes a catalyst for discussion, reflection and feedback. I experience this every time I have a discussion with my principal. To put it simply, Ann’s questions challenge and inspire. They spark new ideas and always challenge me to think deeply about learning. Ann helps me to see and consider different points of view. As I walk out the door, I know I have grown in my thinking. I feel connected, energized and empowered to step outside my comfort zone and take risks in learning.
I hope that through my sharing I inspired some of the teacher candidates to share their thinking, to engage in discussion with other educators and ask questions.