Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Ariel View

While I was living in Asakusa, I never had the desire to cross the river to the east. Then after I moved, they built the Skytree.


Last week I was in Tokyo and had the chance to go to the Tokyo Skytree. I lived within walking distance of this place for three years, before it was built, then moved out of the city, and when I did make it back to Tokyo, never took the time (or had the time) to make the trip to Oshiage where the Skytree sits.

the view                               the ariel view

It was interesting to compare the view from the top (well, the midpoint observation deck) and the street. It got me thinking about a song.

only when we get to see,
the aerial view,
will the patterns show,
we'll know what to do.

Now is the time when I can take a look at the ariel view and see where to go and leave 2015 behind. I think it was a great year - a whirlwind year - but I am looking forward to 2016.

I remember sitting here in this same spot last year, getting ready for interviews, not knowing where I would be

a year later,

how different life would be.

Being removed from the blur of the school schedule is the time to take a step back and think about what needs to be accomplished in the second half of this school year.

Here are some things I want to more of next semester ...

serendipitous encounters
In the beginning of the school year, I would come to school around 6:30 am and just walk the halls. This gave me a chance to be more visible if any teachers had a question or issue they needed help with. I know there were times when I had a question and only thought of the question when I saw the person who had the answer. I have been coming a little later recently and want that to change. I should go back to coming in a little earlier and make a point to visit certain teachers in the mornings to check in and have conversations.

get in classrooms
The best advice I got before I started my role as a technology coach was to get into classrooms. The only way to know what is happening is to see it in action, they said. They were right. I feel uncomfortable going into classrooms without a stated purpose - the last thing I want people to think is that I am coming in to check boxes off a list. I want to go in to see how I can help.

join meetings
My schedule makes this challenging, so I need to be more creative with how I go about this one. Fortuately, the middle school and high school meetings are on one day, and the elementary meetings are on another. That gives me the opportunity to meet most of the teachers. One thing I would like to see more of in meetings is lesson sharing.

promote teachers in meetings
I tried this in the beginning of the year, but my approach was flawed. A teacher did a really cool project with her students, and had her to talk about it with other teachers. I won't do that again with such short notice, but I would like to see more teachers share ideas and celebrate student work. It would be great if a rotation could be set up so all teachers would have a chance to share something for 3-5 minutes in every meeting.

promote teachers through central hub
This year we set up a central space to share learning and teaching. Next semester I want to continue being a learning recorder for the school to help spread ideas.

practice mindfulness every day
I noticed towards the end of the semester I was feeling really burnt out. Next semester I want to take a city trip at least once a week, take more pictures, and practice some sort of mindfulness/meditation during the school day. This might be best done in the morning before the day starts. I could spend 10 minutes in quiet sorting the thoughts in my head.

Prioritization has been the area I have found most challenging and another focus for next semester.

There were a couple other things I wanted to try this year that I might try this second semester. One of them was starting a book club. This one is purely for selfish reasons to get me to read more, but the more I think about it, the more interesting it is to me. I am just not sure that same level of interest is out there.

The other thing I am interested in is doing some sort of EdCamp or Meetup for the southern Taiwan region. I think this would be a great way to get teachers together to share ideas. Even though we have a great staff, I think getting fresh perspectives is always good. This wouldn't even have to be held at KAS. It could be at a coffee shop, or library perhaps, or anywhere convenient.

Of course, sometimes, the ariel view leaves things looking blurry.

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