ITLL Blog Post

Sigh.  I’ve had a really hard time writing this blog post.  And I can’t truly say why.  If you meet me in person I am not shy to speak my mind nor am I afraid of asking questions or admitting what I don’t understand.  But for some reason I have started four ‘posts’ that I feel unsatisfied with and later discard before sending them on to Shauna.

Why is this so hard for me!?!

I guess part of what I am struggling with is my own indecisive reaction to our PD.  At times I feel that what I do and the practices I use really align with the Innovators Mindset.  Inquiry based learning, AFL, student centred practices, collaborative teaching, reflection (for myself and students), technologically infused instruction and more permeate my planning and teaching.  Does all of it happen all day every day?  Well no.  But my decisions as an educator are planned and based with all of the above in mind.

One thing that I have heard and learned and felt reaffirmed about is the need to constantly be striving to do more and do better as a teacher.  My personal philosophy values trying new things and challenging myself and my students in a variety of ways.  I have a hard time when I meet a colleague that teaches the same content the same way every year.

But I also recoil at the idea of creating a ‘digital footprint’.  Try googling me… there isn’t much out there and that is the way I like it.  I feel that most social media is a black hole and I am not convinced that the benefits of creating a social network online are worth the loss of privacy and the need to constantly (CONSTANTLY) live my life through the lens of being a teacher.  In the same way that I am a mom, and I will always be a mom, it is not the only way to define my existence.  Furthermore, I don’t think that the lack of a ‘digital footprint’ should impact my qualifications as a conscientious and innovative educator.  While others are tweeting and blogging to improve their practice I may be reading or researching.  I may be speaking with my colleagues and peers or simply reflecting on what has and has not worked.  Information found online is not necessarily any better or worse than information found elsewhere.  Difference is simply difference.

Having said all this I wish to stress that I really value the conflict and thought that has been inspired by the PD provided by WSD and George Couros.  Anytime that I am (and we as teachers are) asked to think critically about purpose and methodology is a good thing.  I believe it is what keeps me inspired and innovative, I think it is integral to providing best practices in my classroom.  However, as a free thinking, well-educated and opinionated person I guess it is my right to adopt what I choose from the learning experiences provided to me.  What I take from this has been and will be positive, I’m just not sure what it will look like.

Jilll Joanette
Grade 2/3 Teacher
Principal Sparling School
Cluster 2010

Musings of an Innovator

When I was first told that I would be attending some PD days on “Innovation teaching, learning and leadership” I thought to myself  “here is the next bandwagon in a long line of bandwagons that we should embrace.” I was feeling overwhelmed with all the “new” strategies, ideas and learning opportunities that were coming my way. I was just about maxed out!

Then I read George’s book The Innovator’s Mindset. Finally, something I can wrap my head around without loosing my mind. Reading this book made me really think about how I run classroom and how I can change it for the better by implementing a few basic changes. Mind you, giving up executive authority is hard. Like it has been said before, we teach the way we were taught. Handing over some authority and leadership to the students is hard. However, I like to think that I am an open-minded individual, an on-going learner, and that this change will benefit all in the long run.

Being someone who is comfortable with technology, I thought this PD would show me new and exciting ways to use it in the classroom. It’s a lot more than that. I am trying to keep in mind that technology is just a tool we use to help us be innovative and creative. The use of social media, on the other hand, is something I am not used to. I do not Facebook, Instagram and, until very recently, Tweet. The use of these platforms has opened up a whole new learning curve for myself. The benefits to education are obvious now, so I look forward to embracing them in the coming days.

The Innovator’s Mindset has made me take a closer look at my classroom teaching style, and find ways to “empower learning and unleash talent” among my learners, including myself. I look forward to the rest of our meetings.


Allan Grimsley

Principal Sparling

Cluster 2010