When Going Public Isn’t An Option — Then What?

Yesterday, we had a PD Day, and I must say that I enjoyed all of the learning throughout the day. It felt really personalized. I spoke with numerous people — not all of them Kindergarten teachers — and we had great conversations about …

We ended the day, talking about professional inquiries and starting to develop our own. I think that this slide that my principal, Gerry, shares sums things up nicely.

Screenshot 2016-02-27 at 14.24.43

We were told that with a professional inquiry, we’re really thinking about ourselves.

  • Where are we stuck?
  • What do we need to move forward?
  • Where might we begin?
  • After reflecting, where might we go next?

I think that this process is about looking critically at ourselves and our practices. I think it’s about the value in regular reflection, and what we can learn from doing so. I think that it’s about connecting with others in meaningful ways to learn more together. And while I think that this process is about taking the time to focus on “us,” it’s about doing so in order to better meet the needs of our students. 

In theory, a professional inquiry sounds like a perfect focus for some professional blog posts. I know that I blog in order to share where I’m stuck, what I’ve tried, my reflections, and often my next steps, but in this case, my topic is a specific one, and I don’t think that it’s for public discussion. But I’m stuck. I need some help to know where to go next, and I’ve connected with various professionals, educators, consultants, administrators, and parents, but I need moreWhat should I do in this case? I could pick a new topic that’s maybe even more general and would be easier to share here. Blogging would allow me to verbalize my reflections and hear more specific feedback/ideas from others, but I’m reluctant to give up on this other area of focus. I really feel as though it’s what’s stopping me from moving forward, and if I could solve this problem, all students would benefit. So what would you do? My problem of practice is becoming a bigger problem than I thought, but one that I definitely want to solve. I’m hoping that some comments on a general blog post might help me figure out my next best step.


14 thoughts on “When Going Public Isn’t An Option — Then What?

  1. Aviva,

    If it is troubling you so much and you want to solve the problem – then perhaps it is time to reach out in a more specific way. Talking in generaliies makes it hard for people to support you and it makes it harder for you to apply the feedback to your situation. If it is a sensitive topic reach out to someone who maybhave had experience with it and let them know you are needing help to improve yourself and your practice. Taking a risk and putting yourself out there is tough – but it sounds like that is really the next step for you.

    Good luck with making the decision. I am sure there are loads of people who will be supporting you no matter what you decide to do.


    • Thanks for the comment, Sarah! I have reached out privately to some people already, but the solutions aren’t quite working yet. There have been a few improvements, but the problems still exist. Maybe I just need to reach out to more people. Sometimes it’s hard to know which person is best and/or has the best experience to be able to help out in this given situation. Sometimes I wish there was a private way to share with a larger group of educators, while still keeping things a little less public. Maybe this way exists and I just don’t know about it yet. I’m seeing our Kindergarten consultants on Tuesday at a presentation, so I think that I may speak to them again and see if they have some suggestions for other people that could offer help.


  2. Aviva, this blog post is shouting out in a quiet and persuasive way. Your search for answers and solutions for your ‘stuck-ness’ and your ‘problem of practice’ is commendable. Despite the challenges of finding people who can help, I suspect the solutions already lie within your grasp. You just need someone who can understand the context, issues and potentials. Someone to ask the right questions or focus in new directions. Reach out to someone whom you trust, someone who speaks from experience.

    I find it’s often the person with the least amount of ‘connectedness’ to the situation that peels things back to get to the core of the problem, who asks the ‘why’ question I was not asking myself. Hopefully this blog post will help you find your ‘why’ person, someone removed but connected.


    • Thank you so much, Helen, for your comment and your belief in me. The thing is that I’ve actually reached out to quite a large number of people at this point: from administrators to parents to fellow educators to consultants. Everybody has been incredibly willing to help, asked great questions, and even given some wonderful suggestions, but the problem still exists. And it’s a challenging problem because there’s a developmental component to it, and maybe, this piece means that there isn’t necessarily the “now solution” that I need in order to help everyone involved.

      Doug Peterson just tweeted me about maybe having a private document where those I trust could help brainstorm some more specific solutions. I like that. Due to the specific nature of this problem, I think that I’m going to talk to the Kindergarten consultants again on Tuesday when I see them, and see if they have any names of people to suggest. From there, I may go with this private document route. I’m not giving up on this problem yet.


      • Your dedication and perseverance with this will make a difference for your students! Your patience, when a ‘now solution’ or a public discourse aren’t options, can be a model for others who face similar challenges. Stay strong!

        • Thank you, Helen! I’ve used Doug’s advice and shared a little bit more with some people, with the hope of maybe getting some other possible solutions. I’m not giving up on the children or the problem.


  3. Hi Aviva,

    Hard to say what to do next without knowing the problem but for me talking with others has always been the best. If you cannot share to the general public then opening up to someone near you may help. Also contacting further professionals? Conducting your own research? Writing a paper once its done? Just some thoughts.

    Hope they help.

    • Thanks Jonathan! I have had a lot of discussions already with administrators, fellow educators, other professionals, and our Kindergarten consultants. I just emailed the consultants for some more advice (and/or other people that they think might be able to help out). Doug Peterson suggested reaching out privately to some people, so I did that too. I’m not giving up on this problem, even though it is definitely a challenging one to solve.


  4. Aviva
    I know that you will NEVER give up on a problem. You will search for answers tirelessly. I think that one of the things I like best about the Reggio approach is the gentle approach re: time. Finding the answer may take more of this than you might wish. Perhaps just a little wee break, while you focus on something else (if that is possible) will allow all of the information you currently have to distil.
    I also think that a private discussion group could be helpful. I don’t know if I might have any experience that might help you, but it is possible & you know I would be happy to have a confidential conversation anytime. We might even be sharing the exact same struggle at the exact same time. I admire your perseverance and know that it comes from a sincere love of your students. If you ever wonder if you are up to the incredible task before you (I know I do) remember that those beautiful little human beings trust you, believe in you and have confidence in you “their teacher”. So do I. Nadine

    • Thanks Nadine! I really like this about the Reggio approach too. I will say that my mind is always on a couple of different problems, but our Board is really focused on professional inquiries this year, and this problem is definitely part of mine. I did just reach out privately to some people to ask for some advice and/or even possible resources to peruse. I’ve also gone back to our consultants. They’ve been really helpful so far, and maybe they have some additional ideas as well. Thanks for believing in me and the great reminder about the importance of staying focused on kids because of how much they need us too!


  5. As you know, not all our thoughts and reflections are for public consumption nor should they be. We all self edit. To jump start your professional, or instructional, inquiry, what about a question : How do I learn how to….?

    • Thanks Sue! We used this model to help formulate our questions on Friday, but this is a question that I’ve been thinking about and working on (in different ways) for a couple of months now. I guess that I formalized things more on Friday, but didn’t start the inquiry then. I do agree with you that not everything is for public consumption, and not all professional learning and thinking do I share on my blog (for different reasons), but I can see a blog as being a good reflective place for our professional inquiries. Maybe because the comments could help provide next steps and deepen reflections. In this case, maybe I need more of a private sharing option, or maybe, as my professional inquiry grows and changes, I’ll be able to share more here.


  6. Hi Aviva,
    If you are a member of ETFO the union offers an opportunity to engage in Action Research to examine your own personal problem/challenge of practice. This project is called Reflections on Practice and is an advanced womens leadership institute. If you are interested feel free to contact me directly. If you are not a member of ETFO perhaps your research department might have a similar opportunity for you if the next step for you is to conduct action research.
    hope this gives you some ideas

    • Thanks Carla! I am with ETFO. I’m not sure that my problem of practice would be best as a research one (per se), but let me think about it. I might very well be in contact. I did use some people’s suggestions here and reach out to a few people privately. Now I have some new ideas to try.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *