Today marks the end of my time at my current school. When I started here my daughter wasn’t 3 months old. Three weeks ago she turned 4. Time flies. Well as some already know, in the fall I will be working as a faculty associate at Simon Fraser University in their Professional Development Program. I eagerly await the opportunity to get started and the many opportunities that lay ahead. Having worked with pre-service teachers in the past I am sure this next few years will be very rewarding and will have a positive impact on my practice. People I meet that have done the job have all said it was a highlight in their career. For me, my path to SFU all kind of started in November of 2010. I was facilitating an AFL workshop at an assessment conference in Whistler, BC and I was fortunate enough to meet Damien Cooper, an assessment author and presenter. I asked him how we might change teachers’ assessment practices to better serve our students. His response was that we have no power to change people. We can only seek out positions of greater influence. Since then I have taken his message and sought out different positions of influence and have landed happily at SFU.
As I reflect on the last four years I see my work at my school as fitting into one of two “categories” of sorts that leave me two key learnings that I want to share. The first category was that I felt the need advocate for teachers new to the profession and new to the school. Having been the new teacher in the past I knew that sometimes having your voice heard could be difficult in busy high schools. This led me to taking on the role of the school union representative and I was able to help ensure that teachers in the school were treated fairly and equitably. Often times my role was just to be a person to ask questions of. Bottom line is that I believe it is so important for those of us who have been teaching and have kind of figured it out to seek out new teachers and help them adjust to their new profession.
I have also been involved in many initiatives that advocate teaching practices that I believe better support students and their learning. Through working with others on these initiatives my professional growth in areas such as assessment, inquiry based learning, and collaboration has been career changing and has had positive impact on the students that I teach. The message here is that working in collaboration with other teachers is key to moving our practice forward. All teachers have much to offer each other, and it is in these collaborative relationships that we all have the opportunity to grow professionally. Ultimately we will positively impact the students who will continue to show up to our classes each September.
So, to conclude, if we have connected or interacted in any way over these past four years I tip my hat to you. It is these interactions that have me continually reflecting on what I do and what I believe about teaching and learning and help me grow as an educator. These lessons I will take with me as I head up the hill to SFU.
Enjoy the summer (if it ever shows up)!