Who Am I?
Good question. I guess there are several different tacks I could take to answer this question. I could take a philosophical approach; “Who am I? Who is anyone? Why do I exist?” I could take the maternal approach; I am after all a mom to the most beautiful children you could ever wish to meet. I don’t mean beauty in its narrow sense referring to the physical either. It is an inner beauty to which I refer. Or I could approach the question through a professional lens. I am a Deputy Principal, a teacher and all that that entails. If I am brutally honest, I don’t think you could ever extrapolate the teacher from who I am. It is probably easiest though to give you the facts of who I am and my journey thus far.
My Professional Bio:
I started teaching in the UK in 1993 after attaining a BA(Hons) with qualified teacher status. It began in inner city Birmingham working in low socio-economic areas. The school was Leigh Junior and Infant school where I stayed for 7 years teaching various age groups. It was here that I fell in love with teaching nursery age children.
In 2000 I moved to Paget Primary school so that I could specialise in early years. This job came with additional challenges because it was a school that had been placed in Special Measures, i.e. a failing school. Within 6 months I was the Foundation Stage Co-ordinator, responsible for a team of people, two lots of 40 three year olds per year and community/ family liaison. I loved it. Within 12 months we had turned the school from a failure into one of the most successful schools. No other school had turned around in such a short space of time. Not one to stand still, during the 7 years at this school I took on various roles including curriculum co-ordinator and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and Assistant Principal.
In 2004 the school-wide Professional Development was around inquiry learning, learning styles and assessment for learning. This combination ignited a fire in me. I wanted to be at the forefront of education and the research kept pointing at New Zealand. Our PD facilitator, Dr Barbara Prashnig, came to England to deliver the PD all the way from… you guessed it… New Zealand.
In January 2008 I moved half way round the world to work in one of the best schools for Assessment for Learning in Auckland, Glen Taylor School. I decided that it would be good to throw off the cloak of management and leadership and begin again as a full time class teacher, as I learned the New Zealand curriculum and its requirements.
But soon I was climbing the ladder of promotion into leadership yet again. I worked closely with the Principal Lin Avery, a key person in developing Assessment for Learning in New Zealand. Within my first year I had the prestigious Professor John Hattie in my classroom discussing assessment and the e-asTTle tool with students, seeking their feedback and suggestions for improvement. We were one of the trial schools for e-asTTle. In 2008 I had one of my lessons videoed by Michael Absolum, owner of Evaluation Associates, for use in Assessment for Learning Professional Development across New Zealand and other countries. A few times I was greeted with “Oh you’re that teacher in the video!” In 2009 I took on the role of AfL leader and PD facilitator in the school. Eventually I agreed to work part-time in the classroom and part time coaching and co-teaching with staff to develop their skills. I took on this challenge believing this would just entail the staff at Glen Taylor. Wrong. I also delivered meetings on the effective use of asTTle at Mission Heights school, Principals cluster meeting at Fruitvale as well as having principals and teachers visit from other schools in New Zealand and Australia. In 2013 I was extremely honoured to be invited to present at the Visible Learning Conference in Brisbane. Sadly, I had to turn this down as I had let my passport lapse. Something I really must get round to renewing!
I left Glen Taylor School in December 2014 to take on the role of Deputy Principal at Opaheke School in Papakura. The school has started its journey into Visible Learning and I have the privilege once again to work with a team of teachers dedicated to making learning visible and meaningful to students. I remain in contact with Lin, Michael and Prof Hattie.
In addition to the work in Visible Learning I am leading appraisal in the school. An enormous task in itself, let alone added to everything else that needs to be done. It goes without saying that a school that believes in making learning visible for students is also committed to making the appraisal and professional learning for teachers visible too. We are moving towards unpacking the PTCs (formerly RTCs) with teachers so we can build a shared understanding of what good practice looks like at different phases of the teaching career. Ambitious? Probably! Worthwhile? Definitely!
My personal Bio:
I am a doting mother to a large family and I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them.
We have 4 cats. I’m hoping my son finishes his veterinary training in Palmerston North and moves a little closer so he can treat my cats (at a reduced fee!) when they getting old and sick.
I love reading Michael Connolly crime books and can’t wait for the Harry Bosch Season 2 to come out on prime.
I always wanted to learn to play the guitar, but somehow I never found the time or inclination to practise.
A couple of years ago I stopped renting and bought my own house. I try and fool myself that I have green fingers and I grow my own veggies. I have a lovely (wild) herb garden.
Plans for the future: Renew that expired passport before I’m due to renew my teacher registration!