This year I have been given the fantastic opportunity to be a facilitator for the Manaiakalani and Ako Hiko Clusters. I have enjoyed my new role. It has been great to put the theories I have learnt from completing my Masters into practise. I have to say adult teaching is completely different from classroom teaching. Adults bring a new perspective to learning that I've never experienced before. Adults are interesting, some can bring with them baggage, mixed feelings, passion and positivity. It has been a huge transition and it has taken a while to find my feet. I have learnt that I can't use the one size fits all model with classroom support. In some ways I cannot repeat the same lesson on the same day at the schools I work in. Everyone is working at different levels and even within schools teachers are at different levels. It is about knowing the learner inside out and outside in, their environmental conditions before moving them forward. It is about understanding their limits and capabilities, but also being able to move them forward at a manageable pace.
Sometimes when we introduce digital learning or any new form of learning at a rapid pace, teachers switch off, their attitudes change towards it and they avoid implementing it on their students or they use blame as the excuse. I have the belief it is ok to work at a different level, just like students it is the amount of progress over time that matters most.
No matter what level of learning whether it be adults or children, everyone deserves respect. Relationships are critical. I have noticed this more and more in my new role as a facilitator. There is this element of trust. From personal experience depending upon the person, in my early years of teaching I would get nervous around visitors / facilitators coming into my classroom. I would be anxious if my class misbehaved and whether feedback would be given to me around the learning environment or whether it would be blabbed to the principal. I do understand feelings of anxiety and I consider it to be a real privilege to work in other teachers classrooms where relationships are professional and are built on trust.
In my role, I feel it is important to learn about the whole person, take an interest in them as people and to learn their hobbies outside of school, children, grand children, travel, events, etc. Being able to connect is an essential key element to this role. It also needs to be reciprocal as well. The power of listening helps as well. Before every lesson, I ask the teachers what are you currently learning at the moment and where are you up to with this? I think hard and model a lesson using one of the apps / websites that link to the learning content.
It's funny when you walk into somebody else's classroom. I think at the very beginning the students would think I was some sort of relief teacher. However, with my years of experience I tend to laugh it off with any trick and say to them that I'm going to teach them something very exciting that they will do on their Chrome Books. This diverts the behaviour early.
I know deep down that I will never be at the same level / status as the classroom teacher.
There is a special bond between classroom teacher and students. Students are very clued up and can read the teachers movements and emotions. It is fascinating. I do miss that very special bond, especially being on the same learning journey with the children throughout the year and watching them grow with confidence over time.
However, I feel I am leaving my mark in a way with over 300 students once a week in sharing my love of digital learning with them.