Anita’s Story

“Leadership is getting someone to do something they don’t want to do to achieve what they want to achieve.”     ~Tom Landry~

It’s true, the best part about my job is that I get to be a ‘teacher’ for both children and adults. Since my arrival as principal at Park Avenue P.S. last fall I’ve had the chance to work alongside a great staff, amazing students and wonderful families. What I’m most proud of is the learning we have started in the area of networked digital learning and how our staff have started to tinker with some of the tools that our students are eager to use. I asked our grade 3/4 teacher, Anita Simpson if she would share some reflections on her learning journey this year.

I appreciate Anita for her eagerness to learn and put herself out there:

In the past, I believed my my Professional Learning was a journey.  It involved taking courses, doing action research, completing workshops and reading current information from highly recommended and published authors. I was an advocate of directing my own Professional Learning.

 I attended conferences and workshops about student learning, differentiation, assessment, character building, reading, writing, and technology. You name it, I signed up for the conference or workshop! My resource selection was and is very developed because every conference or workshop that I attended, I was encouraged to purchase the recommended resource.

 People resources were limited for me.  Although I was teaching at a publicly funded school, I really wasn’t the kind of teacher who made a habit of asking for someone’s help. I was fiercely independent  (or so I thought).

 My first exposure to a social media venue happened last summer when a former VP had suggested I go on Facebook. I did, and loved connecting with people. I also learned to Skype, out of sheer desire to thwart missing my grandchild while I was in China. I was amazed and loved Skyping too. I had a twitter account but I have to be honest, I really didn’t know how to use it, so it just sat with no tweets, no followers or no one following me. I was Tweetless.

 This year, my Principal recommended the use of twitter and also recommended the resource Discovery Education.  I revived the twitter account, deciding to give it one last attempt before I put it to rest forever. I was not convinced it would work, because after all, I really did not see the use for it.  I obtained a password to access the Discovery Education site and thought my Principal was being helpful with the Science Inquiry that I had started in my class.

Presently, the way I do my professional learning has changed significantly and so have I! The catalyst for change was Discovery Education and Twitter. 

Discovery Education Canada has enabled me to locate information that has been compiled by educators and I discovered it was not just about Science! There is an enormous and vast amount of resources for all subjects, for all grades!  I was shocked and delighted.  

 Tweets have enabled me to see what others are doing in their classrooms and have also connected me with professionals just like me who are willing to share their expertise and knowledge.   My classroom is now open, not in the physical sense of the word, I have tweeted about some of my students’ accomplishments, and ideas that others may find useful too.  

 Currently, my Professional Learning involves connection. I feel connected and I feel that my professional learning can be developed right at my fingertips!  I can find out what I need to know in a matter of minutes. The beauty of our Professional network is that all our doors are open and our learning is not just self-directed, it is transparent. 

 P.S. Okay, it wouldn’t be fair if I just ended it there.  I am continuing to learn and I have #1, just completed an online chat on twitter..scary but extremely rewarding and thought provoking!

  #2.  My connection with people continues to grow and again, it has been extremely rewarding.  I have laughed out loud, connected with people who will help me with my learning and in turn help my students and #3.  My excitement that I am experiencing can not be conveyed in words. Anyone interested in connecting with like minded people will not be disappointed.  Happy Travels! 

  1. April 6, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Thanks for being a “narrative champion” for Anita. It’s been lovely to watch her journey.

  2. April 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    We have taken lots of little steps this year and are gathering momentum, Anita’s enthusiasm and willingness to explore have been a big part of this. I appreciate your encouragement and the time you have invested in our school- we are glad you are part of our learning community!

  3. May 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    As a parent of one of Anita’s students, I can tell you that my daughter’s technical skills, confidence and comfort with the digital world has increased dramatically this school year. We have explored Edmodo at home together and she spends free time creating Power Point presentations about her hobbies and interests to share with the family. Her ability to quickly and effectively do research on her ipod is impressive and often comes in handy at home! I am thrilled that my daughter is immersed in digital learning at Park Ave. this year.

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