I took away the part ‘in 2017’ from the title. As the title got lengthy, I did not add the second half I like so much: ‘Closing (Some) Loops‘. This post is my second round of reflective thoughts about blogging (you can read its part 1 focusing on the reading others’ blogs)
I tweeted this last month
Questions to ponder
I then tried to imagine myself being a reader of this blog: what would I want to ask the author? What reminders could I send her? Questions I would ask? Is there anything that has been promised but never followed up on? What ‘loops’ have been opened but never closed? In this post I would like to talk about some of those loops. You will see that some are easy to ‘close’ and some are less so. Some may be doomed to stay open.
It’s a page with a couple of sub-pages where I was collecting my 50-word thoughts in 2015-2016. I stopped last year and never got myself to maintain this list. Even though the process to create a 50-word note is fun, it needs to be done on a regular basis to make sense. Also, getting back to the ideas there and creating a post, conducting a small research needs more discipline (time, energy, etc.). For now, I will keep it as a page.
I wrote 2 posts 2017 with this title: New and Experienced Teachers and Multi-Subject Teacher Gathering. One more post that could have had this title was on Teaching Higher Levels written in 2016. The part that worked for me was sharing the question or a task I felt was challenging and trying to create my own (selfish!) opportunity for professional development using this blog as the reflective lounge. At the same time, as a reader of this blog I imagine would be curious how the session went.
Updates: the Multi-Subject meeting has not happened yet, but I hope it is something to look forward to in the coming year. My ‘live session planning’ and ‘thinking aloud’ exercises on this blog were helpful and resulted in a simple slide deck for the presentation, and my enhanced confidence level. I think I will keep sharing those PD Challenges with you in 2018 🙂
Working as a freelance trainer and curriculum designer has a lot of benefits, but
sometimes often could feel a bit isolated and disconnected from colleagues and community. ‘Connecting’ in its various formats became my theme in 2016-2017: apart from facilitating a reflective group for teachers, I started (and almost failed to maintain) a small local consultancy service ‘Mobile Director of Studies’, and made several attempts to create a community of teacher trainers in my country. In 2016 I shared a post about this.
Since I have never followed up on how the developed, let me do it now. In 2017, I ran two sessions for teacher trainers in the format of ‘Round Table’: the first one was more of an introduction of the idea, pretty much as the post describes. The second one was focusing on Planning and Running a Workshop Session, and its abstract said the following:
‘Even if you are not yet formally a ‘trainer’ or a ‘teacher mentor’ (but definitely if you are!) you may be asked to deliver an input session to your colleagues, and/or run a seminar to the newer teachers at your organization, and/or deliver a workshop or a training to a group of teachers. Some of us have taken certain training on how to do this, and many of us have developed an intuitive approach to creating and delivering such sessions. The session will be an invitation to share ‘tips and tricks’ for successful training sessions for teachers.’
During the session, we were discussing these questions:
1) Where do we start when preparing a workshop session for other teachers?
2) What kind of session formats do you know (have you used or attended as a participant)?
3) What criteria of a ‘successful’ workshop session can we use? (and what makes a session ‘effective’ and ‘helpful’ for teachers?)
4) What tricks and tips for developing and delivering a workshop session can you share with fellow trainers?
We also created a (semi-active) Closed Facebook Group, which I hope to contribute to more in the coming year. If the group gets more interactive in 2018, I would like to share an update about it. If you don’t hear anything about it in the coming 12 months, it would simply mean I said goodbye to the idea.
RP Reading Club
Since it was created in 2015, only one article was read and blogged about in the ‘club’ format, and there is a post about it here. The reason I stopped was not having a ‘peer’ to read together. Without a need (or a push?) for conducting formal research it is hard to keep reading, and even harder to reflect on the reading in writing. In 2017 my colleague and I almost started creating a new course featuring reflective practice skills for teachers, but we put it on a pause for a number of reasons (lack of time, other work commitments, etc.) The might get its ‘second wind’ in our reflective practice group, and if it does, I will keep sharing.
< < Not writing > >
This is not a ‘theme’ as such, but a part of my freelance living and writing reality: sometimes I make a pause and you don’t hear from me for quite a while. In 2017, this was the time between March and August: not a single post for 6 months!
The reasons this year were often about lack of time (which I don’t like as an excuse, but still) and having to spend lots of time at my screen doing various types of writing for work, e.g. developing a series of workshops for parents in an Asian country helping their young children to read in English extensively (March), putting together a module on listening and speaking for an online course for teachers in a Central American country (May-June), and running global online courses (throughout the year). There were smaller projects and events: consultancy trips, moving to another city, becoming an aunt, more trips between the two homes now, etc.
A lot of simple life events needed my full presence, energy and time, leaving none of those for blogging. Sometimes, in the midst of everything I simply forgot the magic effect of writing and sharing with my supportive PLN: the clarity it brings, the ideas it invites, the breeze and energy from the experience… In the darker days, I even started to doubt the effect of blogging as a professional development tools, and almost gave myself in to an impostor feeling…
I then found this early post of mine written in 2014 and sharing (25!) reasons to start this blog. I could also think of one more reason blog: use writing as a way of clarifying my own thinking process, as a tool to calm down, to ‘silence’ the inner critic. This insight was helpful to re-start!
Having read the post above I can see a couple of new promises made, a couple of ‘loops’ closed (or explained). I am also wondering if there is anything else that you, my reader, remember me promising to write about and never doing so (could have happened in comments, on Twitter, in other conversations). I would like to have a ‘loop-less’ 2018! (does that count for a new year resolution?)
Overall, I feel lighter, and motivated to keep writing.
Harbuz Cafe in Lviv
- What loops (on your blog, or in your professional development) are you planning to close in the coming year?
- Do you generally feel comfortable with having some loops open?
- How would you answer the questions about blogging (as in the image at the top of this post)
Thank you for reading! 🙂