But I am just beginning…
As I prepare to go back into the school system (after 20 years out of it), hoping to be more than a teacher, but a better facilitator of learning… I bought another book called The End of School by Geoff Maslen….which has a ring of irony to it.
I had just read Geoff’s article in The Age about the founder of Preshill (Progressive School), Margaret E Lyttle, who had recently passed away. It was a great article and I liked the way Geoff wrote about progressive education. I then located his Blog – The Education Reformer, and was very impressed so I bought his new book, The End of School.
Over the past 6 months I have had a few days doing relief teaching in small rural primary schools and enjoyed the side by side work I was doing with the students but not the need that rises up to always be in control and dishing out busy work.
I was wanting to unlock their passions and interests to work on projects that were of interest to them, that were relevant and real. I wanted to inspire them, get them out into the real world, to unlock their creativity and imaginations. But the system does not make that easy.
Here is a section in the book that really rang true to me:
So, here I am armed with all these ideas and about to face 3 days relief teaching at the same school. A bit shell-shocked from my last day there being tested out by a few students. Respect and Trust are so important – working both ways between teacher and student.
I hope that the students and I can work together as a “community of learners, where there are no barriers between us. This takes time.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until both my mum and dad passed away that I started to become interested in local history and that of my own family. Too late to ask my parents….
Over the past 6 months I have stumbled into being keenly interested in History through photographs.
I now manage 16 Facebook pages such as Lost Shepparton, Lost Echuca Moama, Lost Bendigo & District (and other Victorian towns with “Lost”). The pages foster people’s interest in their local history by viewing/sharing the old photos and sharing their memories of what has been lost or forgotten.
I have joined 3 historical societies to learn more about collecting and curating these images/artefacts of our past and finding out what are the needs of these groups.
The ‘Lost Pages’ also gave me the opportunity to produce calendars, postcards and poster prints as a way to help raise some money for these historical societies.
I am also developing my own primary school history/technology program called Lost Generations which will be based on hands on learning with the students working with historical societies doing real and relevant projects.
In April I have been invited to speak at the Victorian Museums and Galleries Conference in Warrnambool which is an honour as I am only a newbie to the history scene.
This was shared on Facebook and written by Pam Moran. Great words that support my view of education and teaching:
“Motivation isn’t about what adults do to attempt to make a young person learn, but about what learners find within themselves when they pursue learning through its most authentic, interesting possibilities. The best work we do as educators offers opportunities for learners to choose learning pathways, and to make possible any pathway chosen by a young person. We do our best work, not through an expectation of compliance, but rather when we set up situations through which young people experience curiosity, choice, fun, joy, passion, and challenge. When this happens over and over again, learners work without cease, persevere despite the possibility of failure, rise to challenges, sustain focus, and intensify commitment.”
As I work towards getting back into primary teaching this video really gets me thinking as to how best can we enable primary students to get learning opportunities outside the school. To link the relevance of work and learning is a real key to student engagement.
I have made a decision to go back to do some primary teaching. In the process of making contact with the small local schools. When I did some work for Undera Primary School a few months back I had a yearning for the work again in a rural school and its community.
It hasn’t been an easy decision but financial necessity has brought it on and the realisation I am a teacher (albeit much more progressive than I was years back). I also realise now the great value of learning being more personalised and kids doing authentic work both in and outside of the school.
iLearn will continue for the few students I still have and if I get some work on the days the students are here then Judy will fill in for me.
This was the Facebook response from my friends and ex students. Very encouraging indeed.
It has been really difficult juggling Facebook posts (my main social networking forum), uploading videos to YouTube, adding content on Google Docs and now launching our iLearn website using the Striking.ly format, which I love. Weighing up using their paid version to get more features.
A sweet and sour fortnight leading into school holidays. I love sweet and sour pork. BUT, the sweet today and all year has been the work with the students and their passion to learn from many mentors and supporters. It is fantastic work. Should hear what the parents and students think – feedback during exhibitions! All the iLearn team are so proud of the students and their achievements.
The sour is that we keep getting stymied in our endeavours get government funding (through partnering with a school or training institution). Long story. So, we are leaving that funding path and will concentrate our efforts on introducing entrepreneurial and business funding streams.
This indeed is the rollercoaster of innovation. No surprise but disappointing and stiffens our resolve to fund the program in other ways. Hope and faith come to the fore…
Stay tuned for the other ways…you may like to support us in some way or know of someone who could…
My son Tim has been in my program for just over a year now and has struggled to find something that he is so passionate about that he will dig deeply for knowledge, skills and learning.
Just recently he has found a renewed interest in Photoshop. Here are some of his works and he has also set up his own Facebook Page.
Tim Allemand’s Online Portfolio
Maybe you would like to be the first to purchase one of his works or order your own personalised poster.