Monday, September 30, 2013

And now for something completely different

This September has been the most unique for me in at least a decade.

I've jumped into an inquiry-based, blended learning program designed for Grade 11 students, a cross-curricular "interrogation" of the BC Edplan combining English 11 and Geography 12. I've called it the Language & Landscape Program and our focus is on imaginative storytelling within the context of environmental themes. My cohort of 28 students is yoked to me for the entire morning all semester long, but we've broken this up into lectures & lessons, student-led Groups, teacher-facilitated Seminars, and independent "Flex Time." Between big projects, "embodied" knowing, writing workshops, lit circles, and building of "geographies" is some place-based learning, too, meaning we have some great field trips planned to local physical and cultural landscapes.

I've also started a new afternoon job as the district teachers' association Professional Development coordinator. Aside from weighing applications for conference travels, managing a fund, chairing a committee, and planning a big conference in Spring, I get to talk with many educators about their plans for professional learning and help make connections to colleagues, presenters, and support time. Part of this is formal (e.g. district's mentoring program, setting up workshops and min-conferences) and some of it is informal -- conversations, visits, phone calls, emails, and social media.

Some career novelty for sure -- a good fit for where I'm at after 17 years teaching. I can feel the pressure I've put on myself for getting the most out of the morning and the afternoon each day (e.g. I can feel it in the form of insomnia!), but I'm loving the student learning that is taking place in the Language & Landscape program and loving the connections I'm making with educators about their professional learning. When the patterns settle out and new becomes familiar once again, I'm hoping I get the sleep part back. Work-life balance has never been an easy one for me, but it certainly helps when the work is dynamic and fulfilling.

The image above, if you don't recognize it, is from Monty Python's Flying Circus, the masters of "something completely different."

1 comment:

Bryan Jackson said...

Good on you, Glen! It's been awesome to see your Landscape/Language class take shape and come out onto the web - looking forward to seeing the student portfolios take shape.

I'm also curious about the direction of your Pro-D thinking these days, and how your inquiry here is directing your efforts (and those of other folks in your district)?

Enjoy the last bit of a (hopefully) restful Sunday!