On Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s ReWired Conference. I’ve been thinking a lot about the conference and my learning from the day. One component of this year’s conference that I loved was the Bounce Back addition. The thinking is that we reflect on one piece of new learning from the day, set a goal, and commit to making a change in the next couple of weeks. Interested participants are invited back in two week’s time to share what they tried, what worked and what didn’t, and make some future plans with the support of the other people there. What a great way to jump start a change and provide a support network for future learning. Here’s my problem: I want a redo.
I had to work through some issues of my own at the end of the ReWired Conference.
- The change in weather gave me a major headache. I was trying hard to concentrate, but my head was pounding and I was starting to feel nauseous. I don’t want this to become an excuse, but I do find it harder to think at a time when I’m not feeling my best.
- The room was crowded and noisy. This is the reality of a large group, but I know that I don’t do my best reflecting in this kind of environment. I need quiet. I need space. And I need time. I tried to reflect too quickly, and this definitely impacted on the quality of the reflection.
I think that my goal was very vague. I wanted my next step to be about more than using a new tool, but by honing in on pedagogy instead, I’m not sure that I really set an achievable goal. Now, I’ll admit that I could just let this problem go. The surveys were anonymous, and I didn’t ask to be invited back for the Bounce Back session. I’d love to connect with other colleagues, but I’ve been out of the classroom a lot lately, and I don’t want to leave my kids and partner again. That said, I’m a huge believer in the value of regular reflection, and so I need to find some way to make a change, reflect, and tweak this change.
This is when I thought of a comment that Shawn McKillop made during his presentation. I was so excited to see Shawn present. Not only was he talking about one of my favourite topics — social media — but he was also somebody that I’d never met in person yet, but love sharing with online. Shawn was just as warm, positive, inspiring, and funny in real life, as he is on Twitter and Instagram. His message also really resonated with me, especially his comment about storytelling.
Everyone has a story to share! And when that story is told on social media by our amazing staff, it helps shape the narrative of @HWDSB as we work together in pursuit of student success!
— Shawn McKillop, APR (@ShawnMcKillop) May 3, 2018
We do tell our stories through these social media platforms, but how do we include multiple voices in these stories? How do we also move from classroom stories to school and Board stories? When we tweet, Instagram, and blog about components of our days, we’re sharing successes that go beyond the walls of our room. I’m not sure that I always make these links to our school and Board. What could I choose to share beyond my class Twitter account with our school one?
I thought of this more yesterday evening, when I went back to the school after ReWired. I sat and chatted for hours with my teaching partner, Paula, and she shared some photographs and videos from the day. These pictures and videos told a story, but she also told one through her dialogue about them. As I posted some of these photographs and videos last night, I thought about what Shawn said in his session, and I made a change: I mentioned our school name, and I tagged our Board. I didn’t do this for everything I posted, but I began to reflect more on which of these pieces of documentation might help tell our school and Board stories, and how we could celebrate the successes of them as well.
As many of you know, I do post a lot each day, and I’m not planning on tagging our school and Board in all of my posts (this would be the day that Aviva broke the Internet 🙂 ), but I am planning on thinking more about the bigger story. When do our classroom happenings help tell the Rousseau and HWDSB stories, and how do I help connect them? This is not the call to action that I shared on the Google Form yesterday, but it is the one that I’m going to be focusing on for the next couple of weeks. Thanks Shawn for the inspiration!
I wonder if there are other people out there that may have opted out of the in-person Bounce Back session, but would like to join me in a digital version. Share some tweets, write some blog posts, or even share some Instagram photographs or videos that highlight what you changed. Did it work? Did it not? What might you try next? Being the educational troublemaker that I am 🙂 , I might give myself a little more time and check in again in a month (instead of in two weeks). I’m interested in seeing if linking our classroom story to our school and Board stories results in a stronger connection between all three, and even a different perspective on some of the learning that’s happening in the room. Is anybody else willing to join me in a different sharing platform? Bouncing back and reflecting on new learning is always valuable, even if we can’t always make it out of our rooms to do so.