This is a guest post by Year 4 teacher Jina Belnick, an experienced teacher, although only in her second year of PYP and the inquiry approach. She is part of the community of learners at my school.
I arrived as a ‘new’ teacher at a PYP school almost two years ago. At that time, I knew what PYP meant, but I had no idea what it really looked like.
Little did I realise that the journey I was about to embark on was filled with learning…
At my job interview, I told the panel of interviewers that I was interested in using technology in my teaching and that I was keen to learn with my students. Little did I realise that the journey I was about to embark on was filled with learning – using so many different skills and tools – that I would no longer hunger for opportunities to learn, they would quite simply arrive.
Open eyes, open mind and a collaboration with other learners was all I needed.
Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 4th Culture of Thinking Conference in Melbourne, Australia. My colleague and I arrived armed with our iPads and our eagerness to find out more. We chose different sessions and so we met up afterwards to share and discuss our learning. This type of reflection is indicative of the school at which we work and the way we model for our learners to think about their learning.
I’m grateful to work at a school where learning (rather than ‘good teaching’) is valued…
By the end of the conference, my head was spinning. I walked away feeling incredibly grateful to work at a school where learning (rather than ‘good teaching’) is valued; to have people around me who love to share ideas, explore opportunities and experiences; where questions are encouraged and discussion arising from disagreements take us to new places.
Being a good teacher is not just about well prepared lessons…
I am grateful that I now understand that being a teacher is no longer just about a well prepared lesson. For me it has become an understanding of what engaged learners look like; what the curriculum and all its interwoven components require – and how we need to listen to every child to help them to get to know themselves as learners.
I listen, I try new things and I learn…
Aha moments are regular and varied. Insecurities about how others do things in comparison to how I do, need to be buried. I listen, I try new things and I learn. Being with children who love to challenge, question and make meaning for themselves keeps me travelling on my journey.
Planning with people who value others’ opinions, share their knowledge in a non-judgemental way and share ideas freely has been the sunlight nurturing my growth.
I arrived as a teacher, I am growing as a learner. Every day is a surprise. Every moment is an opportunity.
Another member of our learning community, Hailey Joubert, reflects on her learning and growth as a teacher here. If you like the sound of their journeys, we are currently advertising for new teachers! Leave your details here.