Tag Archives: Aspirations

Teaching is about caring …

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There are many caring and absolutely respected jobs in this world. One profession I utterly respect is that of Nurses and Support workers who in my opinion, are wonderful, wonderful people. I also genuinely think up there with those caring, great jobs, has to be teaching.

I honestly believe the vital quality, the very essence of a good or great teacher is that they genuinely care. About lots of things.

You have to care about your children as people and individuals, and not just how they’ll get the grades you want or need them to achieve by certain days or the end of the year. You have to care about them as young people, young learners who are learning so much about the world every minute. Let’s face it, we live in a busy, rapidly changing world which moves frantically forward in society, technologies, science as each single day passes. And god bless them, by the time of those teen years there’s a ton else going on in their lives which can mean school is their only safe or happy refuge. Or a very unhappy place. Or a disinterest. What a loss. To lose interest in learning.

You have to care about helping them to learn, to help them learn to learn and to learn about themselves too. You have to care about understanding where they  are coming from sometimes and what’s happening in their lives, perhaps difficult circumstances at home which might be influencing them. Even down to kindergarteners, never mind teenagers or pre teens. If one of my student’s parents is away for work often or just on certain days/ periods of time, I need to support that child. If they have a new brother or sister, there’s careful consideration there necessary from the eyes of the teacher to help them with that. Children and young learners need nuturing  and we, the teachers, who students spend half of their day with and are constant figures in their path to adulthood should nurture them. Help them in the professional and caring way we need to be to help them strive to be the best they can be.

Loving Learning! Grade 6 - Issan, Thailand, 2009

Loving Learning! Grade 6 – Issan, Thailand, 2009

You should care that you inspire your students. That they’re preparing for the tough world of work and adulthood which ultimately comes at the end of the whole timely process. whichever age you teach. Kindergarteners are just starting to learn how to make sense of a seemingly and often complex busy world in a beautifully innocent naivety that very young children have. First, second, third graders, all of them upwards are learning really complex stuff as well as facing and feeling an increasingly heavy pressure to progress, achieve and succeed – honest I’ve seen some of their work in class and it’s amazing what they’re learning and doing. They’re only like 7 or 8. Achieving wonderful things. All in a complex community of learners, involving a huge myriad of people and learning situations with;  peers, elders, youngers, teachers, family, people they meet from other schools, learners they learn from and engage with on the internet, television, the media -in fact everywhere. The work produced by middle/ high school students should be applauded.

I went to the Grade 5 exhibition a while back and was stunned at this whole array of personal projects these students had worked so hard at and done such a great job with. And each passionately following their own questions and interests to create a personal project and such amazing art, drama and musical representations to support their work. Amazing. I wondered what I had been doing in Grade 5 back in my past life  when I saw their work, and I don’t recall anything of such complexity and maturity. How much education changes, all the time, (even in my short life so far) and how a good curriculum ( I love the IB inquiry method) and good teachers can make those sometimes relentless changes to be positive ones. To be part of that evolution of teaching and learning, how amazing. From students being an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge as was such in the not so distant past, to be inspiring them to create their own path of learning and follow their own rigour and hard work in doing so, following a path that interests them. To be a learner helping a learner. Not a teacher helping a learner. Isn’t that how we should be helping our students learn in both their school work and also their understanding of learning itself, how they best learn, what they want to learn about, so they can be inspired and engaged in meaningful learning,  relevant to them, their studies and life in an intrinsically curious way?

Happy classes

Happy classes

We all experience and learn every day. In addition to caring, every good teacher should be humble. Accept that they are in fact still themselves a learner and can and will make mistakes. It’s definitely okay to make mistakes but a hundred percent better if we accept and learn from them, especially when that knowledge and growth stops us making it a second or third time in the future? In fact if we admitted to our students more often that we’ve made or do make mistakes, they’d feel much more comfortable with making mistakes themselves. Being open to the process of learning.

Who ever got long division the first time?! Seriously? Some of us still struggle with it or other concepts like percentages now as an adult. Who can remember Pythagoras Therorum clearly now all these years later? (unless you’re a maths teacher!) How many things have we had to learn in our own lives, and more importantly, just how much more do we have to learn, and will learn in our future. Embrace it, I think, for a much more open and less complex life. A healthier life.

 

I make mistakes all the time with my kids, and I feel lucky that in Kindergarten, it’s easy to accept it and let my students know a) I’ve done so and b)  know it’s okay to be wrong because ‘Miss Kielly’s just made a very silly mistake!!’ … cue a gaggle of loud giggling children, potentially actually rolling on the floor with silly laughter! But it’s important to do it wherever you work in a school and with every student. To feel safe in fact is in the knowing of safely of being able to make a mistake/s and know it’s okay, nothing bad is going to happen. School should be a safe place. Let’s encourage it more. Who wants students to be so scared of being wrong that they necessarily limit themselves. How sad.

Helping each other - Grade 5 students Issan, Thailand, 2009

Helping each other – Grade 5 students Issan, Thailand, 2009

Collaboration - Grade 5 Students, Issan - Thailand. 2009

Collaboration – Grade 5 Students, Issan – Thailand. 2009

Don’t limit yourself just because you’re an adult and supposedly know everything! Accept mistakes when you make them,  acknowledge them,  grow from them, and show your students your own personal learning curve.

Teaching is a great profession. Enjoy it! Help your students enjoy it! Listen, think, reflect, act, reflect and learn. Remember to care.

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Am I achieving a little more happiness?

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Okay … so it’s been about a week since I posted about the Happiness Project, a book I found truly inspirational. I think I read it just at that time in my life when I needed to. I guess I haven’t been totally dedicated to making the changes in my life immediately but I have made some changes which are going well. I know I can’t possibly achieve all I want to achieve in a week so here’s to appreciating what I have achieved (No. 17 of my goals) …

Well I can definitely say I’ve worked hard on No. 14 Be more aware of the food I eat. Try to ensure I eat at least 3 of my 5 a day. Which I fail miserably to do so now.’ and No. 4 Make my house here in Indonesia more inviting. i.e. BUY furniture. My house is ‘minimalistic’ (or empty). My sister is going to visit in March so that’s another good reason to get goin gon this .. PLUS I can go shopping!which is wonderful!

I went on a big shopping spree and bought a gas stove and rice cooker as well as bits and bobs for the house. It feels great to feel like my house is finally getting sorted. I’m pretty lax in getting things organised (obviously since I’ve lived in Indonesia for over a year now and I’ve just got this sorted but I think this means I can say I’m also working towards goal No. 7 Don’t put off tasks … persist with nagging ones‘. It also means I’ve been working really hard to cook healthier food (which also means I don’t have to eat the pretty gross food in the school canteen -a total plus). I’ve sorted out fruit salads for snack time and pasta/ vegetables for lunch. I already am feeling the benefit. I feel healthier, I feel better about my eating habits. I feel happy knowing I’m making these changes and I’m motivated to keep going with it.

I was actually talking to two work colleagues today who agreed with me that buying and cooking good food makes them feel like a real adult. LOL. I guess I’ve felt I should for a long time and have known I should be eating better and looking after myself more. Now I am and I really feel good about it. I also went for an amazing massage this afternoon with my friend, Kim and it was so relaxing. After sitting on tiny chairs made for children all day and hunched over my computer doing work most evenings, a massage is good for my body and I’m definitely going to keep having them more regularly.

I’ve also been working hard on No. 9 ‘ Strengthen friendships both back home and here. I’ve been a little lazy in replying to people and keeping in touch from home and overseas. NO MORE! And I got so tired last term, I ended up not doing a lot so I’m trying to cultivate and strengthen my new friendships in Jakarta. ‘ and again it’s been great to do so. I’ve been out with Sinead, a wonderful friend who works at a Singaporean International school here and is just an amazing woman. I’ve caught up with Kerry and Darryl who are wonderful, wonderful people and also Kim, a really nice colleague and also a good friend 😀 It’s so easy to get caught up in work and just do not much after school, but I have really felt the benefit of maintaining and strengthening these friendships. This is a goal I need to definitely keep up with and it’s also one I am again motivated to do so because I know the benefit is worth it.

No. 6 ‘Exercise more regularly. Increase my stamina. Get back to Muay Thai. Gym it. ‘ is going well. I’ve been gyming it with Mel and it’s really fun going with her .. I’m easily bored and going to the gym by myself is honestly depressing. I find it hard enough to pound the treadmill anyway but with no conversation, no music, only the sound of my bored feet working furiously to keep up a pace, I’m beyond it. Nope, you definitely need a friend to gym with. I’m so impressed with Mel’s motivation. She goes rain or shine and she really helps keep me motivated. Sometimes, I’m exhausted but then I get a text from Mel and I think, ‘Go on then!’. I’ve also reorganised my Indonesian lesson so I can get back to Muay Thai with Rick. Looking forward to it. Watching my video of my fight really made me remember just how much I love Martial Arts and ow much I enjoyed Muay Thai when I was going last term.

I haven’t really gotten much more sleep and it’s affecting me already. Being tired in the morning and having to rev up the energy and enthusiasm working with 4 year olds is hard. Its not good. I know this is a goal I need to keep trying to improve on. I just find it hard to wind down in the evenings. I am at school so early in the morning and it’s a very long day and I definitely feel the need for some serious chill out time in the evenings. Still, having gone through my goals in My Personal Happiness Project reminds me of the successes I’ve had already and has helped remind me of things I still need to work on. Having set the goals has already helped me resolve to make changes.

Am I a little happier? I guess that’s hard to judge. It was a long week back last week and I’ve had to cover members of my team which meant even harder days. I didn’t do much at the weekend which I always find frustrating. But, having reflected on what I have achieved, I can honestly say the changes I’ve made are impacting on my life … in positive ways. Having reflected has given me strength and resolve to keep up the good work I’m doing and make changes in my life that I haven’t yet really done but want to do.

I can definitely say my kids in class bring a smile to my face every day and remind me of the simple pleasures and discoveries which as adults we forget about in the stress of being a grown up. Seeing their excitement in observing (and touching sneakily!) the snails I brought in made me appreciate the wonder of life for them and that just because we are adults, we shouldn’t forget these things. Seeing their enjoyment in reading the ‘secret password’ each day and the pure excitement in realising there’s a new word to read when they arrive at school makes me grateful to work with such curious and genuinely interested learners. Seeing them running towards me and hugging me reminds me of unconditional love that I am lucky to receive.

Just before I go, I want to mention how happy my sister’s achievements in the past few weeks has made me. Carla is an amazing woman, such a lovely person and unfortunately I think the grind of life has worn her down a bit of late. However, she has really motivated herself to work hard on her goals including applying for Nursing and her driving test as well as booking flights to come see me and more of the amazing world we live in. I am so very proud of what she is doing. I love you Carla!

What makes you happy guys? What changes could you make in your life? Would you make any?

Till next time … Kiels x