by MindShare Learning’s Bradley Grant, OCT, Digital Learning Specialist
September is an especially exciting time of year in Education. It’s the beginning of a new school year & new opportunities; for students, educators and parents. It’s the opportunity for many educators to put the new strategies they learned over the Summer into practice. The opportunity to reflect and evolve your practise from last year. Maybe it’s the opportunity to start that education blog you’ve been putting off. But, for some it’s the opportunity to get their fresh young foot in their local school board’s door. And I’m here to give you some tips to make sure it’s successful .
Be prepared to be challenged
Remember that final block in your practicum? Four weeks where all you do is live and breath teaching? Well, get ready for your first year to be a lot like that — you’ll hit the ground running. Don’t worry; we all survived the block right? Just be prepared that this first year WILL be challenging.
Plug in for your PLNS
Start growing out your Personal Learning Networks. A distressing trend I’ve noticed from young teachers is they are often absent from conferences and conversations alike. Don’t be afraid to explore your own personal growth and expand your circle of fellow educators. And please DOWNLOAD TWITTER if you haven’t already. You can find and engage with some amazing networks, twitter chats and tips from innovative educators all over Canada and beyond! Look to ISTE as a great starting point (and I suggest checking out their standards for students and teachers).
Learn something in STEM
Let’s be blunt, STEM Education is huge right now. So Learn to code. Learn Robotics. Take a math AQ (*shudder*). Being a teacher is firmly tied to being a lifelong learner. Your students demand it because I guarantee they will be digital natives (and probably better at using) a lot of technology in your classroom. It’s your responsibility to keep up. I know it’s your first year but try and learn something new, bring it into the class and go for it!
Be okay with failure.
The popular acronym in education for F.A.I.L is First Attempt in Learning. You will have failures as a new teacher. Acknowledge these failures, reflect with your fellow staff and remember to build from the lessons you learned as you move forward.
I need you to hear this my fellow new teachers. Engage with the Tech in your school! Try building a lesson that involves technology, robotics, building, making, creating, designing and learning with tech! I’ll tell you this. Transforming learning (or embracing Dr. Seymour Papert’s Ideas decades ago, you choose) means embracing and changing the way we think about using technology. It’s not about substituting an Ipad for a textbook; it’s about using technology to truly dive deeper and transform how your students learn.
School’s in sessions. Now go get ‘em!