Monday, 24 September 2012

When in doubt, choose change

Image: 'artjournal4'
I always tell my students: "If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”. For me, learning means changing. I know what many of you might think, change can be messy, frightening or frustrating, but I suppose you'll agree with me it is undoubtedly necessary. Making progress means facing challenges, developing new skills and solving old puzzles.

Sometimes life runs smoothly and learning becomes a slow process, but that is not what has been happening to me since August. From that moment I have been experiencing a deep transformation which has set an inflexion point in my personal and professional life. Embarking on this whirlwind adventure forced me to take a break from blogging, but now that I have gotten into a new routine, I have finally found some time to sit down and write.

Let me share with you the biggest changes I have undergone and the best lessons I have learned.

Change #1: Home alone

For the 1st time in my life I’m living on my own. By the end of July my boyfriend, with whom I had been living for 8 years, moved 250 km away to do his residency. He’s a doctor and it’s too hard to get a position here, in Rosario, so he had to go. We chat almost every day (now I know more about skype, facebook chat, and google + hangout than ever before, hehe), but do I feel lonely? Well... sometimes. I must confess living by myself is not something I would have chosen, but it does feel good, at least at times! 

There are 2 main things this experience is teaching me:  

  • The gift of quiet: A teacher’s world is filled with bustle and noise, but life has given me quiet! After school, when I close the door behind me, I have nothing to distract myself from the thoughts and feelings I don’t focus on during the day. When I am alone I can unwind and learn. What I learn about is myself, my own strengths, my weaknesses, my insecurities. Knowing myself better will help me become a better person and, hopefully, a better teacher. If you can, spend some quality time with yourself.You’ll be surprised how much your “inner voices” can tell you about the aspects of your life you must work on.

  • Time alone is important and so is time spent with others: When my boyfriend was always around, I did not cherish every moment with him. Now that we see each other once or twice a month, I listen more closely to what he says and choose more carefully what to do with him. I suppose we can also apply this to sharing time with colleagues and students. Every person around us is important, but we are usually too distracted to really connect with all of them. Let's cherish every moment we spend with the people we love!
Change #2: Officially a student 

Ever since the beginning of the year I had been meaning to start formal training on ICT but it was not until August that  “Postítulo de Especialización en Educación y TIC ” ( Post Degree in Education and ICT) started. I’m so happy I'm officially a student again! Up to now, we have only focused on analyzing our context, needs and ideas. I hope in the future we’ll learn much more. I keep my fingers crossed!

Change #3: From working with colleagues to working with students.

In May I was chosen to train a group of colleagues at school in the use of ICT. The experience was time and energy-consuming, but absolutely fantastic. However, in August I was informed my role had to change. The Ministry of Education decided it was time students produced digital material. What do I have to do now? Basically I have to find out what cross-curricular topics students are interested in and what projects on these areas are being carried out at school so that I can help students create videos, digital posters, audios, etc to express their ideas. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, it is very interesting but I would say this is definitely more time-consuming than my previous task, at least now that I am helping students get organised and teaching them about “Audacity”, “Movie Maker”, “Glogster” and other useful tools. This is a huge challenge even if students know a lot about web 2.0 tools. The thing is, they need to become a cohesive group working effectively and that is the hardest part.I'll keep you updated on our progress.

What about you? Has your life changed recently? Do you feel you need to modify some aspects of your routine? Why?

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