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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Progress Logs Claire’s Progress Log

  • Claire’s Progress Log

    Posted by Claire New on October 6, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve been meaning to find a space to reflect on my day to day practice as well as on the massive (and I mean Godzilla-esque) change initiative my journey has brought me to push for in my school. I am looking for a frank and honest place to be open about my frustrations.

    I have been on a long and painful journey that includes moving schools for undermining behaviour by my HOD, principal’s nominee and DP and a pregnancy as a method of escape from a dire situation. After long deliberation about my future, I’ve returned to work, my beautiful daughter is now 2 and I’m in a much happier place than I was.

    A little context, my school is set in rural New Zealand. I teach year 9 to 11 maths (grade 8 – 10). I am the only female maths teacher the school has had in about 20 years. This year, I was promoted to HOD of the junior curriculum as my counterpart (and others) acknowledged that I was the one doing all the work anyway and should get recognition for it, so he stepped down.

    The role has brought with it some unexpected leadership opportunities including developing an optional extension program, moving to individual progress based assessment and (the biggest challenge of all) a change initiative to move the department (and possibly the school) towards a constructivist and indigenised approach as this seems to connect with our students better.

    It’s exciting but I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed. A small pilot project has bloomed into a massive, all out program which I have to lead and I’m not sure even where to start. We’ve got support from the Ministry of Education (run by Massey University based on Boaler’s work), which I think is a good start. I feel like I’ve signed up to an eating competition I haven’t trained for! I know I’ve got good people on my team but they’re….latent….very slow to move. Slow and steady wins the race, I know, but I’ve never been a leader before and it’s daunting when I’m surrounded by tortoises.

    So….yeah…that’s where I’m at. I’m off to make up the class lists for next term and think about my action plan….

    Kyle Pearce replied 1 year, 1 month ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Kyle Pearce

    October 8, 2021 at 6:49 am

    Wow! This is massive!

    Which means:

    Massively exciting
    Massively rewarding
    Massively worthwhile

    I love it. You might feel a bit over your head right now, but you’ve got this.

    If you were to focus on one thing right now, what would it be? Let’s take one bite at a time.

  • Claire New

    October 10, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for your encouragement, Kyle! Yes. Totally worthwhile and ultimately rewarding. We have a lot of deficit mindset going around in our school and I’m trying to change that with incremental actions.

    I keep going back to what Jo Boaler says, and I’m sure I’ve heard you guys say it on the podcast, “Assess what you value”. I’ve started persuading people away from assessing against national standards as this didn’t enable us to celebrate growth. This means that kids who are doing well already, sit on their laurels, behaving badly and still claim excellence. On the flip side, kids who are below standard have that drummed into them and they never have the opportunity to feel that their hard work is rewarded. So why should anyone work hard?

    This coming term (we’re on term break, atm) I’m going to be running workshops on a new assessment tool which is explicit about progress and where kids sit on each aspects’ progression. This should make it clearer for students where they are and where they need to go next. It will also, subtly, highlight areas of content deficit and align all teachers to a nationally recognised understanding of how each aspect progresses.

    First steps in that process, well…I need to make sure I have the resources set up so teachers can work on their understandings of the progressions and the tools when they are away from the workshops. I need to give them enough help so they can quickly become independent of me.

    • Kyle Pearce

      October 12, 2021 at 6:40 am

      So true. Ensuring that we are promoting students all growing compared to where they are now is so important. Taking your standards and mapping backwards to prior grades can help to meet more students where they are. Nice work here. Curious to hear how it goes for you and your crew.