New Year, New Role

Education has always had a huge place in my heart. On several occasions, my mom has recounted stories of me teaching my stuffed animals as a young child. This was even before my starting school and getting a taste of what being a part of the education system would be like. Although my path to the big question of what I want to be when I grow up – by the way, I’m still figuring that all out – veered in different directions, I find myself today in a place that I am truly enjoying within education.

A couple of years ago, I remember being asked the question of what I would do next in education and I always thought that I would never leave the classroom. I was excited to work with students on a daily basis. Discovery and laughter were two things that I could guarantee would happen daily. Over the past 9 years, my students have been the one thing that motivated me to become a better educator. Not merely for the sake of saying that I am a good educator but with a desire to take the time to grow in order to better meet the needs of the students that I had the privilege of serving. Never in a million years did I think that when presented with an opportunity to try something new, that I would start to consider it.

This past June I decided to take a leave and a leap with an amazing team at Future Design School. In August, I started my new role as an Education Lead and it’s been an amazing experience. Having the opportunity to work with educators across North America on creating exceptional learning experiences for students that empowers them to develop Future-Ready skills, is truly powerful.

So far in my new role, I’ve learned 3 things:

  • Enjoy the new learning
  • Learners are learners, whether they are children or adults
  • Take time to reflect

Enjoy The New Learning

I think this is the first time that I’ve taken such a big leap and jumped into something totally new. In the process of supporting educators in a variety of ways, I myself find it fulfilling to also be on my own journey of education on many levels. I love that there is always something new to uncover and that I have an opportunity to be apart of something fantastic that I too get to have an opportunity to help grow. I’m inspired daily to be part of a team who is passionate about transforming education and willing to share what they know with others. While I have worked with students around Design Thinking in the past, I’m understanding on a deeper level the “why” and reason for so much of the process. It’s amazing, the more I learn, the more I discover how much more growth there is to experience.

Learners Are Learners, Whether They Are Children Or Adults

I’m learning that scaffolding of any new learning is important for children AND adults. I know that this should be a simple concept for me to have realized a while ago but it has now become very clear. The definition of learning – the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught – remains the same no matter the age of the individual. Being clear and explicit doesn’t change because of age. Nor does involving the learner in the learning change simply because of the demographic. Adults enjoy getting up in sessions and having the opportunity to talk through ideas with others. They love sharing their thoughts and experiences when designing learning experiences for their students. As educators we’re moving away from being the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side” and the same holds true when working with adults. I’m still learning about working with adult learners and know that best practices in the classroom are also keys to that work.

Take Time To Reflect

I think that I have always been a reflective person but I’m making the time to journal and reflect on my experiences even more. As a kinetic learner, I know that I learn best by actively doing, succeeding or failing and having opportunities to reflect, ask questions of others, and trying again. One thing that I am going to be working on this year is not being afraid of asking questions. I’m pretty confident in asking when I don’t understand something, however, I know that there are times when I am unsure and during these moments I’m a little more hesitant and sometimes like to figure things out. My goal this year is to learn as much as I can and I know that this requires that I be reflective and vulnerable in asking questions.

It’s a new year and a new role for me and I am really embracing it. Are you in a new role this year? If so, I would love to hear what you have been up to and your thoughts around starting something new. What prompted the change? What are your learning? Don’t be left out if you’re not in a brand new role, there’s always an opportunity to experience something new in education. Let’s start a conversation as we work towards growing as educators.

Updated: September 30, 2018 — 10:00 pm

The Author

Arianna Lambert

I'm a grade 4/5 Teacher in the Toronto District School Board who loves integrating technology and mindfulness in the classroom. Through inquiry and design, I work with students who are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities; developing core competencies, while creating ways to make the world an even better place. I am the recipient of a TDSB Excellence Award for the co-creation of #tdsbEd, Twitter chats for educators. Through conversations on trends in Education from STEAM to Mindfulness, it has become an online community of educators dedicated to improving their practice to ensure greater student success, well-being and achievement.

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