Today marks the first Monday of summer holidays. We wrapped up the year last Thursday with our grad ceremony for the grade 12 students. This year has been filled with learning. I was able to try new things, go to the best PD of my teaching life, became a co-moderator of the #g2great chat and continued my own learning journey all while reading some great books. I wanted to take some time to look at the moments that shaped my learning and the year.
For those who follow the blog or follow me on Twitter you know I am a fan of the platform. Not only for the learning but also the connecting with individuals that I otherwise would not be able to. Prior to NCTE in Houston Texas I put in Twitter how excited I was to be attending and many educators I respect greatly where so kind to say they would love to meet or say "HI", Twitter has brought me to different professional resources this year and introduced me to amazing projects like the books suggested by #projectlit and the transformative experience of #31DaysIBPOC which I will talk about more in a minute. I recommend Twitter to all educators. When I first started twitter I was excited about all the cheerleading for teaching going on. Gradually I started naturally moving to more pedagogy focused twitter discussions. #g2great is my favourite. I have contributed regularly to the chat and formed some amazing professional connections and dear friendships. This year I was asked to be a co-moderator and accepted excited to bring a slightly different perspective to the group. I am excited for the opportunity. My twitter evolution has continued through discussions like #disrupttexts and the aforementioned #31DaysIBPOC. I have become more critical of the trends that are light on substance. I question the motivation of posts more because of the opportunity to grow I have been given by critically analyzing the information out there. I think Twitter is like a buffet. There is something for everyone and this year I feel I moved more to the main course section. We all love the dessert table but I am not becoming a better teacher eating ice cream all day.
Ok, so I was sitting on my Twitter at the end of April and noticed a Tweet about a Project that was organized by Dr.Kim Parker (@TchKimPossible) and Tricia Ebarvia (@TriciaEbarvia) titled 31 Days IBPOC which can be found here. A daily post for the month of May by an educator who would identify as Indigenous-Black-Person of Colour. The first post by my Twitter friend Aeriale Johnson (@arcticisleteach) found here had me hooked. As a teacher from a rural area with little diversity I had the opportunity to learn about the experiences of educators from many different backgrounds. I eagerly anticipated the posts dropping each morning. It impacted my workouts because I had to stop and read and learn. These posts made me question my teaching in the best way. They helped me see that I have so much growing to do as I try to best help all my students. As a white teacher I thought I was doing a great job just bringing in books that celebrated or at the least provided diversity. One take away from my reading was that that is not nearly enough. So we started to examine representation more, I learned about the term ant-racism and I feel I left the experience a better teacher for all my students. Through the summer I plan to write a more in-depth series around my reflections and I have a larger post on my #31DaysIBPOC learning journey being published on my new MiddleWeb blog soon (will link here when it is published). I hope you will check out the amazing 31 educators that contributed to this project at #31DaysIBPOC So many amazing posts.
New Things to explore and build on
I am excited about the summer of learning I am about to embark on. I am diving in to Multi-genre work. I am excited to explore Book Clubs more next year. I am going to work on book clubs and integrating not only diverse books but discussions around why they are important and how we can grow as a classroom and community by looking at the world around us through text. I will lean on the experts in the field that help me to grow in the same ways I hope my students will start their learning by leaning on me. The work that needs to be done still is great. I love literacy. I want to continue to build as a teacher on the current practices that amplify my students voices and experiences but also lead them to experience new things, new thinking and build a desire as life long learners. Summer, for me, is about reading at the river and learning new things. So with that I am off to the river for the day, book in hand.
If you need a new book to check out Try The Benefits of Being and Octopus. If you are more looking for some quick thought provoking reads that you can take time to work through check out #31DaysIBPOC. Have a great summer.