Tag Archives: impressions

Joyful Reflections

1 Feb

I have just completed my first two days of school professional development as a real, live teacher.  The focus for the two days has been on unpacking and becoming conscious of our school ‘brand’. I hope to do a post very soon expanding on the wonderful things we learned and talked about during this P.D but for now I would like to share my reflections on my personal journey that occurred.

We were asked to reflect on and share our favourite and least favourite memories from primary school, our time as pre-service teachers and teachers, as well as considering the school values and guiding principles which resonate with us most (and least).  A seemingly easy task stirred in me a plethora of unexpected emotions. Thinking about my own positive experiences and hearing those of others stirred in me excitement at the prospect of being a part of joyful memories for my students.

However, it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy.  Doubt crept in moving me to question my ability to be creative enough, exuberant enough and memorable enough.  The sharing of negative experiences kindled anxiety, fear and further doubt – will I be able to withstand the tough times? Am I passionate enough to stick it out through the inevitable hurdles? How can I make a difference amongst so many challenges?  To be completely honest I felt like hiding and having a good cry.

Thankfully, the day didn’t end there!

Our second session involved discussing the strengths and weaknesses of our school and ourselves.  Discussion uncovered the abundant strengths of our fabulous school.  When remembering my first impression of the school, nearly a year ago, I recall being overwhelmed firstly by the delightfully cheerful, helpful and welcoming administration staff. Relationships were quickly formed as my professional experience placement progressed. I have been struck by how friendly, collaborative and child-focused the staff at the school is and how this is nurtured by our executive team in a whole school approach.

As we delved into the aspects of our school which we would like to improve we were surprisingly not confronted by negativity and disappointment. Rather, we were led to critically consider our role in creating change as we noticed, perhaps for the first time, the impact of things seemingly out of our control on the way in which we are perceived.  We became excited at the prospect of embracing change and improving ourselves.  I was touched by the incredible support system surrounding my school and the way in which our whole group values are aligned, our visions are shared and our hopes for the future ignite a common passion.

At the end of the day I did not feel fearful, anxious or doubtful.  In fact until it came time to share the day’s events with my husband I had completely forgotten my earlier feelings of trepidation.  I was not focused on the words “I”, “Me” or “My”.  I did not desperately wish to curl up in a corner in the foetal position.  I was excited about US!

I am amazed at how becoming vulnerable opened me up to sharing more deeply with others and encouraged me to celebrate my community rather than dwelling on my own weaknesses and doubts.  My participation in this school or in the broader education community is not about ME.  It’s not about doing it all myself.

We will encounter challenges, we will struggle and we will have moments where we question ourselves but it’s not about ME.  I am overjoyed to have entered a profession and, more importantly a school, that is about collaboration, support, encouragement, growth and lifelong learning.

YIPPEE!

What to Wear!

26 Jul

It may seem silly but one of the first things I worry about before going on professional experience is WHAT WILL I WEAR? Typical girl, yeah?

In order to avoid the stress of deciding what to wear each morning I lay out all of the outfits I am happy with a week before I start professional experience. I take photos and then allocate a photo to each day of prac….don’t judge!!!

But it really is important – first impressions count and how you present yourself makes a HUGE difference!

So the same goes for job interviews.   Here are some of my pointers (they are debatable as I haven’t had a whole heap of interview experience):

  • Make sure you are comfortable– we have enough to think about without needing to worry about flesh hanging out, skirts splitting, feet throbbing or bobby pins working their way into our scalp.
    • Choose clothes that you know sit right without needing to tug them constantly.
    • Practice bending over, sitting down and standing up – if something goes “boing” or “flop” swap it.
    • Keep your hair off your face and avoid fancy up-dos that develop minds of their own.
  • Don’t be afraid to show some personality– just because it is a job interview doesn’t mean you have to dress ‘boring’.  We are teachers – we are fun, lively, creative individuals – show it!
    • Wearing colours makes me feel happy and confident – that can’t hurt when going to an interview (I’ve heard that blue and grey are the most popular ‘positive’ colours to wear…so they say).
    • Cute dresses, pretty blouses or quirky shoes can shake up a professional outfit and help you stand out, just don’t go overboard – this is an interview not the catwalk.
    • Jewelery is a nice touch but only in moderation (think tasteful, this is not the time for your favourite sharks tooth choker).
  • Double check your outfit before you go – you don’t want to be worrying about a stain, pulled thread or unsightly crease during your 15 minutes of question preparation.  Take the time to get your clothes organised the night before, check them thoroughly and find alternatives for last-minute toothpaste accidents (I’m seriously prone in that area).

One of my favourite pieces of advice (from my Dad of course) is to dress like you already have the job.  Now as teachers this may seem  a bit tricky – do you wear your finger-painting-appropriate outfit, your PE gear or your casual Friday get-up.

My rule of thumb is THINK EXCURSION.  Don’t pretend like you don’t dress up just that little bit more when you go on a class excursion, especially when you know other schools are going to  be there…this is the image you are aiming for in your interview.

Finally, and yes it is time for the clichéd advice – wear confidence and a smile.  Sorry, it had to be said.  But I don’t know of anything that calms me down, slows my speech and makes me breathe as effectively as stopping and smiling.  If you have been called for an interview there was obviously something in your application that stood out and I am guessing, being teachers, you really care about the career you are entering into.  We’re not pretending to know it all (goodness we’ve only had 80 days of experience) but we are proclaiming that we love this career, the people in it and the difference that it makes.

That’s you.   That application, that was YOU!

If that doesn’t make you confident I don’t know what will!

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