Updated: Feb 24, 2022
I hope you are well.
Things seem to be settling a little bit on the COVID front. I’m sure there will be disruptions and it isn’t how we would like school life to be, but hopefully things are on the improve.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Some of you might be aware that a few years ago one of my resolutions was to stop using the ‘b’ word – busy. It is probably the resolution that I failed at the most. Nowadays I’m comfortable with being busy, that’s just who I am. What I struggle with is when in conversation it appears to be a competition to out busy a colleague, etc. I still try to avoid using the word as I feel it has negative connotations.
In my opinion it’s ok to have lots of things going on (see what I did there?), but you need to try and find some sort of balance. It can’t be all work and no play.
Even if we were to have something approaching a normal year in schools (fingers crossed), there are never ending demands that couldn’t be met even if you worked 28 hours a day, 9 days a week. It’s important to prioritise our actions, but equally it is important to build time into our week for the things that re-charge our batteries.
Some of you reading this are likely to say I’m too busy (!) at the moment to have a life outside of work. By engaging in hobbies that help us get into our flow state you will notice a jump in productivity and energy levels. Running, reading, gardening, out for dinner, music, shampooing your goldfish … what makes you tick?
Being the start of the year, it is important that we get into the habit of scheduling in these activities just as you would a work commitment, you will thank yourself later.
EMBRACING THE POWER OF LESS
Despite what you might read on social media, or in the news, for those of us in the game we know there is nothing simple in education. However, I do think as educators we can tend to over complicate things that are already complex.
The following article by Mike Schmoker provides some excellent advice and is an important reading for all leadership teams at the beginning of a year. https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/embracing-the-power-of-less
Schmoker’s book ‘Focus’ is also an excellent read.
It has been great to be back in schools to start off the school year. I’ve been trying to capture more photos, and I’m looking to embrace social media more. A big thank you to Jess Howe (Woori Yallock) and Reid Clarke (Cobram) for this week’s photos.
I started the year off at Cobram PS as I have done for the last 5 years. The culture at the school is outstanding, and there is a real appetite for professional learning. For an extended period of time the school has led the way in whole school approaches, with consistent pedagogy being a real feature. This consistency allows the focus to be on what each student is doing and whether the task/activity provides the perfect amount of stretch. The discussions staff have around their in school ‘data’ is a celebration, and at the same time targeted to find the best next step for each student in each learning area in literacy and numeracy. For our main focus this year we have returned to reading. Engagement and motivation, and then comprehension were the key topics that we looked at.
My colleague Keay Cobbin has engaged with Woori Yallock PS as a consultant since 2010, which pre-dates the 6 years that I spent there as a principal! Keay has been an integral part of all the success that the school has achieved in those 12 years. The transformation and sustained excellence is something I’m very proud of.
Keay and I co-facilitated a whole day professional learning session on writing for day 2. We looked at some of the latest research pertaining to writing in 2022, how we can put writing up on a pedestal, and the writing process. I’m excited to see what the outcomes for staff and students will be this year at WYPS.
Thanks for reading and see you next week, Danny.
P.S Feel free to provide me with any feedback regarding the newsletter, or anything for that matter via email. Also, let me know what topics you would be interested in reading more about.
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