This summer the family and I spent the holidays in the USA and Canada. We spent time visiting family in Boston and Seattle, friends and a wedding in Canada and I was lucky enough to attend a PE conference in Asheville, NC.
I'm always thinking about fitness over the summer and trying to keep in shape as I know there is also a lot of eating and lazing around happening. I convinced my wife to by a Fitbit 2 as she had bought one for me last Christmas. I have loved owning and using my fitbit. It has kept me alert. I have been aware of when I am moving and am not and how much exercise I have actually been doing during the day. I have become fitter this year because of it.
My wife now has hers and I am sure it will have the same affect. There are hourly reminders to move, how many steps and how much rigorous exercise you have done as well as a whole bunch of other features.
This summer my son decided again to take part in a two week soccer camp. He always looks to play as much soccer as he can over the summer to keep up his fitness and skills.
We also decided to take part in a family 4km obstacle run called 'The Woo Challenge'. This was a fun event with about 10+ obstacles spread across the city of Worcester, MA.
My daughter had only been entered for the kid challenge but decided to join my son and I on the longer family challenge. Although it was tough, she managed and got all the way through.
I also participated in The National PE Institute conference in Asheville, NC. It was a big conference I had heard about through Artie Kamiya, whom I connected with on twitter. I really wanted to go as I had been told it was a great conference. I had the opportunity to meet the PE teachers who have set up Physedagogy and attended some of their workshops. If you ever get the chance to go to this conference, it's well worth it!
When you visualize something that you want to achieve in your career, can you achieve it? In a blog by Marelisa Fabrega, she points out how Eckhart Tolle believes there are three things to happiness. These three things can help you visualize where you want to go and what you want to achieve in a more positive light as you focus on the present and don't let your ego take over.
When leading you need to have a clear vision of where you want to go and how you want to lead. I think it is important to express this clearly to your team, colleagues or faculty from the beginning. Show what you expect and how it will be achieved. This can only be done with a clear vision.
To move forward and inspire change in others it is important to understand yourself and make necessary changes in yourself first. In McKinsey Quarterly, Nate Boaz and Erica Ariel Fox point this put in their article 'Change leader, change thyself'. If you can instill the changes in yourself first and understand those changes, you could inspire others to do the same. It is also important to understand that to change your department, school, organization it is the people that have to change first. Change can be hard for people but it can also be positive especially in these changing times.
One of the things I learned about myself was what type of personality I have as a teacher. I think I already knew but did not have a name or category for it. During the 21st Century Leadership conference (please see previous blog), Maxine asked us to carry out a personality test. There are a few, like the Myers Briggs type indicator, Belbin team roles test and 4MAT test. We took the Gregorc style delineator test. This was very specific and helped us learn more about ourselves and our relationships with others.
This part of the workshop really made me think about who I am and what I bring to my team as a leader. I also realized that it is so important to know and accept who you are. I have a clearer understanding of where I want to go with my team and where I want to go with my career. Maybe it is time you found out who you really are and what you really want to do.
It has been some time since I have written a blog. I have continued to use twitter and facebook to connect and spread my thoughts and feelings about education.
This weekend though, I was inspired to write a blog again. I had a very productive learning and collaborative time whilst attending a workshop (#thinkstrategicworkshop #cihosts) by Maxine Driscoll. You can follow her on twitter @maxinedriscoll.
Maxine has been in education internationally for many years. She has held many leadership positions in a variety of schools. She has recently developed the 21st century think strategic idea. From this a website has been developed with a blog, resources, links for workshops and more.
Our 'Focus' this year at our school is Balance. This is intended for us to find balance in our lives. I of course think this is essential but often ignored in this modern day. Personally, this is something I need to find in my life this year more than ever.
I have found in my job this year there is so much more to do, set up, organise and think about. Most of this is supplementary to the teaching and pedagogical discussions I have with my team as department head. There are so many other non-teaching aspects of my job which also require my time and energy.
One of the biggest obligations I have has been scheduling facilities. The elementary, middle and high school PE teachers all share the same facilities but have different timetables and lesson lengths. I have the responsibility of managing the allocation of PE facilities which include scheduling facilities for classes as well as requests from other teachers to use our facilities. As a department we share and all realise that we can only have what is available at certain times. This is all dependent on the units we teach and the facilities we need. It can be hard at times when there are many classes scheduled at the same time and we all need facilities. Then there are times when only a few classes have been scheduled and only a few facilities are needed. This whole process needs to looked at and put into balance.
As a department head I also have the responsibility of dealing with broken equipment, ordering new equipment, making sure storerooms are organised as well as the equipment in them and dealing with the budget. There are also many other things which crop up that has to be dealt with. Of course I realise that being able to delegate is an important characteristic of someone who leads but I find it is also important to realise what needs to be delegated and when.
How to create a balanced life. Some useful ways of organising yourself and thought and meaningful way of thinking in this article I read recently.
I've recently started managing my second season of the adult team I play for. I am the manager, coach, secretary, etc. I know I took this on myself and am often someone who should ask for help but doesn't always. I suppose I feel when I do ask for help I don't always get it in the time required.
I do love organizing and this year have taken on a lot with my job as head of physical education at the school I work in. The job has been very challenging with some major hills and mountains that I have had to scale. I have dealt with many unexpected turns in the path and had to deal with them head on. The challenges have been stressful. I am lucky to be married to someone strong enough who will listen to me but also tell me to get on with it.
I have also started coaching after school again. I coach the JV boys football team. I actually find this part of my life less stressful as I do not really have to plan as much as I know exactly what I am doing. There is far less organization than that of managing your own team, as the schedules are already set by the Athletic Director as well as all the other things she has to do. I mainly just have to coach a bunch of boys who love playing football.
The adults team on the other hand is more demanding. Trying to get all the team out in a Sunday is a feat in itself. I have a Facebook group and a Kakao (like what's app) group in which we stay in contact and I share details. Ordering uniforms, collecting subs, paying refs, organizing away trips, contacting opposition teams, setting up training sessions, etc. I suppose I knew what had to be done but didn't really think of the time and effort it would take.
I am hoping this time round, in our second season, it will be easier. I have done some recruiting, I hope to get more dedicated players. We're going to add a sponsor to our shirts, as long as I can get the logo turned into a iron on.
Here we go again Songdo Spurs. Let's get ready for another season!
Recently I spent some time away from school attending a professional development workshop run by the International Baccaulaureate and a new #physed conference called the APPEC conference. Both were held in Hong Kong, a place I had never been before but really found exciting.
The IB workshop was the best professional development I've ever had. It was the workshop I'd been waiting to go to without realising. It came at the right time in my professional life, making me finally realise the direction I wanted to go. I met many new people and made new connections which I hope will last for a long time in my career.
Training as an IB workshop leader was far from my thoughts a couple of years ago. I knew I had the experience and had been asked previously about the possibility of participating in such a course. I think maybe I was afraid of leaving the classroom and being away from teaching children. I was afraid of going in that direction. But the more I thought about wanting to do this workshop, the more I realised that maybe it was the right direction. Not only could I lead a life where I strive to inspire children, I could lead a life where I also have an opportunity to teach and inspire other adults.
Over the last few months I have really been inspired by Andy Vasily. He came to work with our staff last year and again this year and I had the opportunity to see him speak at the APPEC conference as well. As one of the key note speakers he spoke about being inspired to achieve and making a lasting change to your lives and teaching.
I also attended a session by Gavin Fausset, where he focussed on warm up games and keeping students active. He decided to measure how much time he talked vs how much activity time the participants had. He wanted us to be mindful about the time we spend talking in class and to keep it to a minimum. This is one thing I am constantly aware of and trying to improve as a teacher. Make your talking time count and making the students think about what you are saying is important. But I also believe it is important for students to be physically active.
I will be presenting at KORCOS, which will be held at my school. I will be presenting a similar workshop to the one I did at the APPEC conference on Martial arts in physical education which I have blogged about previously. I am also planning on doing a job-a-like at the conference for local physical education teachers.
This article I read, by David B Hawley, on thinking about things we should stop doing, start doing and continue doing caught my eye after going to Gavin's session. It has some interesting points to consider and makes you think about what you could be doing in the classroom. Take some time out during the day and think about what you are doing in your teaching, your career and your life.
What are the important things in your teaching that could make a difference to your students? How can they better learn from your teaching? Is there anything in your teaching that you feel it is time to make better?
Over the last year, since the 'Next Chapter' in MYP, I have been trying my hardest to understand and develop ideas about inquiry in the classroom. I have personally asked many questions about the way I teach and how I can incorporate inquiry into my classes.
I sometimes find it hard to include inquiry into every lesson and feel that lessons have aspects where you have to lead the students towards your objectives. I do not believe classes should be content driven but there are times when important fundamental skills need to be taught or demonstrated for students to understand how to implement their ideas of skill.
'The Power of asking the right questions' by Georgia K Mathis approaches this topic and has helped me think even more about how I can use #inquiry in my classes.
The youtube video below show this in action at Wildwood IB World Magnet School.
How do you include inquiry in the classroom? Do you do it all the time? Is it an important part of the learning in your classes?
I have just read a blog by @ImSporticus about 'What does success look like in physical education' and posted this response on his blog. I thought i'd share it with you.
Every PE program is going to be different in every school and this leaves this discussion wide open. I personally believe that success has to firstly come from the program provided for the students, secondly from the teaching involved with the program and thirdly the success of your students within this program.
Your perception of these three can vary depending on the expectations of the school but I think more importantly the expectations your school has for success in PE at your school. We all know that sometimes PE can be disregarded as a subject by some. I still hear it at times in my school when teachers think anyone can teach PE. They don't really know what our subject involves.
A successful program should allow students to experience a broad range of activities which allows success for every student. Basically a physical education program is not a 'Sports' program. I fully believe when vertically articulating your program a variety of activities should be included as part of your program. In MYP Physical and Health Education at our school we try to do this. Of course we are not perfect but we fully believe we are trying to provide variety for our students using our facilities and faculty the best way we can.
Physical Education practitioners should be competent in a range of activities. When employing our latest PE teachers for this academic year it was important that they not only had the passion to teach but the experience and willingness to teach a diverse curriculum. We not only teach practically but we also include health lessons in our curriculum. Our teachers need to embody the philosophy of the IB MYP curriculum and it's expectations fully before embarking on teaching physical education.
Standards within your curriculum provided you with benchmarks. Assessments then provide you with a way of discovering how your students can reach these standards that your have set. It is essential for you to find different ways to assess your students so they have an opportunity to show you what they can do. Students should always be aware of what is expected of them and how they can achieve success. They should be provided with opportunities to test their knowledge and skills and reflect on their performance. Sufficient feedback should be given after every assessment and students given a chance to understand where they need to improve.
All students can find success in physical education if they are provided with the correct tools to work with. As I said above, I think these tools are a good curriculum, good teaching and successful assessment.
As I enter into the second year of my current teaching post, I look back and reflect on what has been a massive year of learning for me. It is always hard when starting in a new school and new country but living here and working at this school has provided me with a lot of opportunities to develop as an educator.
Implementing the new MYP Physical and Health Education curriculum with the next chapter has had many challenges. There has been a steep learning curve for many in the school who have not taught MYP before but with close collaboration and an openness to discussion we have put together what I think is a good program. Of course we have had to make mistakes so we can learn. I know for sure I used too many summative assessment tasks. This was not only a lot of work for the students but also for me.
I have had many good discussions with members of my Facebook group which has grown in numbers but also in the quality of educators with good ideas and practice. Some of these members such as Mel Hamada and Alison Pearce have provided a constant source of information, guidance and constructive criticism. They have also allowed their own work to be evaluated by our community and I am sure this has helped in their own development.
I do know that this year I will be reflecting on what I have learned and make subtle changes to the curriculum we have already established. I am really looking forward to this year especially in my role as Head of Department which already has had many challenges.
I aim to continue my development as an educator and hope to share many more resources, ideas and experiences with the growing social media physical educators out there. I will also be looking forward to attending the IB Workshop Leader course in Hong Kong in October and presenting at the APPEC conference in Hong Kong again in November.
As we come to the last couple of weeks of our summer holiday I always feel as if I should be getting fit again after not doing too much in the way of activity.
Last year, during the month of July, we started a fitness program as a family which I called '10'. This meant picking ten exercises without weights and doing ten repetitions of each. We would then add one repetition for each day. We carried this out every day for the whole month.
During the month we did decide that we wanted to adjust some of the activities as we were getting a bit bored. This helped keep up the interest and motivation. Having all four of us participate in this daily morning activity worked really well as we encouraged each other to finish what we had started.
This year we have found it hard to start anything. I think my biggest problem is motivation and trying to find something new. As the PE teacher in the family, I am looked upon to find the ideas but sometimes I just want to switch off from organising activities.
I have instead encouraged us to go out for walks, go swimming and take some classes. We went rock climbing the other day for a couple of hours. My son will take part in some football sessions with Plymouth Argyle and my daughter will take part in some gymnastic and trampolining sessions at the local sports centre.
As my parents have recently retired and are not very actively minded, I have taken it upon myself to take them out and get them moving. They have actually responded positively to this and are thinking about what they should be doing in the summer before the cold sets in.
One activity I am going to encourage when I get back to school is for students to participate in the @100ActiveDays and the @burp_it_on initiatives
I think at the end of the day, everyone has different needs and wants when thinking of fitness and summer fitness. What do you want to achieve over the summer? How would you plan a program for yourself? Do you have something to plan for or do you just want to use the time to improve fitness?
I have been writing for about two years now in the world of twitter, facebook groups, blogging and sharing ideas thoughts with the wider physical education world.