So, after four wonderful years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to leave Merrylands East Public School. At least for the time being. I’ve truly enjoyed my time working at MEPS. I’ve had the freedom, support, and space to innovate, to grow as an educator, to appreciate the intricacies of teaching and learning; to connect with educators from all over the world, to feel as though I’ve become part of a beautiful community and to feel appreciated. To form bonds and relationships with some of the most amazing students I’m ever likely to meet.
To love the art of teaching, to appreciate the gifts that it gives. To know that, in some little way, almost every day, often without even realising it at the time, some of the things I have said and done have had a positive influence and the impetus to make a difference. It’s been amazing. A privilege.
My apprenticeship at MEPS has been awesome.
Having said that, it hasn’t been easy.
I could go into a further monologue here about classroom teacher pressures: my commute, the emotional strain, the paperwork; the extra-curricular activities, the amount of time spent working at home, etc. – all that other stuff. However, I assume you’ve heard that all before (or at least something similar), so I won’t. If you really want to discuss that stuff, ping me over on Twitter or elsewhere.
Instead, I’ll focus on my leap of faith and where I hope to be heading.
I recently had a meeting with a local principal about the potential prospect of me working at their school. They were aware of my experience and skills and at the beginning of our meeting asked me quite simply, “So, what’s the dream?” That’s a pretty awesome question to be asked, right? Damn straight, darn tootin’ it is. I wasn’t even quite sure how to answer, but my reply was somewhere along the lines of what follows.
I love Project Based Learning and the use of digital technology to enhance student engagement, to connect students’ learning to the world outside of the classroom and to equip them with valuable skills. I have extensive experience in implementing and achieving the aforementioned, I’m well connected and passionate. I would love to have my own space, with access to technology and resources, and with perhaps less of the quite demanding classroom teacher type stuff that saps energy and motivation. In this position I could design some really cool projects for your students, implement them well, take some of the strains of the curriculum away from your teachers and hopefully spark an engagement flame among your students.
Something like that.
I mentioned that my class has been working relatively closely with Kieran Nolan down at Wooranna Park Primary School in Dandenong North in recent times, and that his awesome ‘Enigma Portal’ would be something I’d very much like to emulate – albeit perhaps more from a classroom teacher’s perspective in terms of curriculum alignment.
Think along the lines of class RFF time in a lab, engaging in integrated projects, with a Sci-Tech/Geography/English/Vis-Art focus, and a healthy dose of digital technology and connected learning.
That’s the dream.
Whether or not I get to live that dream is still something yet to be seen. I’m still having discussions with interested parties and trying to open as many doors as possible.
I just know that it’s my time to go.
I’ve told my class, and they’re not too happy about the situation. In fact, they staged a protest. You can see their placards and signs below. At the very least, it appears I’ve taught them that they have a voice and deserve to be heard. I’m going to miss them terribly, however, change is in the wind and I need to go with the flow.
If you feel you would like to have me working with you, feel free to leave a reply or contact me over on Twitter.