I recently came across a blogpost shared by Dean Shareski on Twitter in which he shared his watershed moments of learning. I loved reading about his lightbulb moments, as well as those of his readers, and was inspired to share mine. I have been reflecting on my own watershed moments (the defining moments in my career as an educator) and I have finally found a minute to come back and share some of these.
I love attending PD conferences, seminars and workshops, and I have learned so much through the various PD opportunities I have had over the years. Even when PD sessions aren’t stellar, I find they are, at minimum, a great opportunity to connect with other eager-to-learn educators. If I had to narrow it down to one PD watershed moment, it would have to be a workshop I attended a few years back through Alloway Therapy Services, called 3Rs: Relationship, Relationship, Relationship – Understanding Attachment in the Classroom. This was only a 1 day workshop, but it was so eye-opening for me, and left me wanting to know more about attachment and trauma. Before attending, my knowledge of attachment theory, was very limited and consisted of thoughts on co-sleeping and clingy children. My thoughts on the effects of trauma on child behaviour and development were equally as limited. This workshop helped me to better understand the origins of some children’s maladaptive behaviours, and how the relationships between key adults (i.e. Teachers, parents, etc.) and children can impact their development and learning. If you had asked me before this workshop what my educational philosophy was, I would have struggled to answer. Ask me now, and my answer can be summarized in one word: RELATIONSHIPS! This is largely in part due to this workshop. I strongly feel that all people working with little people should be educated on attachment theory and the importance of positive relationships.
Since having children, finding time to read books (Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch not included) has proven more difficult, and has mostly consisted of blogposts and articles found on Twitter. One book, however, that I often return to and reference is Daniel Siegel’s and Tina Payne Bryson’s The Whole-Brain Child. This book has taught me so much about child development and the brain and has been extremely useful in helping me to better understand kids. It is written in layman’s terms, so is easy to understand, and it just makes so much sense. Read more about the book here.
I have also recently developed a love for kids’ character education books and books that teach a lesson. Through parenting and my job, I have discovered that kids believe what is written in books more than what adults have to tell them. It’s almost as though if it’s written in a book, it’s automatically true. For this reason I often use books when working with kids on social skills. A simple Google search on character education books leads to endless options.
Is Twitter a tool? I hope so! I am choosing it as my watershed tool. I started on Twitter a few years ago and it has been a huge source of learning for me ever since. When life has been too hectic for more intense and time consuming learning (i.e. formal courses), Twitter has been my go-to! It has allowed me to continue learning and stay current in my job and has connected me with so many like-minded people. Consequently, I am a self-proclaimed Twitter junkie and have severe Twitter FOMO (fear of missing out). Because I am constantly learning, I am going to call it a healthy addiction!
Person (or in my case people)
Because so many people have influenced me in my career, it was tough for me to narrow this down to one person . Although my answer might seem like a cop-out, it is the best I can do. When I think of influential people in my life and my job, these people fit into two groups: little people (i.e:students) and dedicated educators.
Overall, I would say that as a child I lived a pretty charmed life. I was raised in a stable family, consistently had good friends, and school was pretty easy for me. My needs were met, and my struggles were minimal. The little people I have been lucky enough to work with, however, have not always had the same easy start to life, and I am always amazed by what they can achieve, despite some of the really difficult struggles some of them face at such an early age. As clichéd as it may sound, I speak the truth when I say that these kids have taught me SO MUCH!
The many dedicated educators I have had the chance to work with have also been extremely influential on my career. Over the last ten years I have met so many truly devoted teachers, administrators, clinicians, educational assistants, etc. I love meeting these people who despite the challenges, devote so much of their energy to raising and educating the next generation. Spending time with these people really energizes me and inspires me, and they are a huge part of what makes me love my job!
So, what have been your watershed moments of learning? Share them in the comments or write a blogpost and link to mine.