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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Meet my staff room


Let me take you on a tour of my staff room. We'll go in through this green door by the Science labs. Just pause while I check my pigeon hole - nope, nothing there. Ooh, where are my manners! Would you like a coffee? We have good stuff here. You pour yourself a cup and the milk's in the fridge. Sorry about the state of the kitchen. To be fair, I've never worked in a school where there haven’t been battles over whose job is it to empty the dishwasher.

Anyway...where would you like to sit? I usually sit around this table with the other English staff. You're very welcome to join us. Senior Management will start the meeting soon, they'll tell us what's important, and then it's a bit more open forum. I'll put my hand up, wait to be acknowledged and then introduce you to the rest of the staff.
Hmm, when I say the rest of the staff though, this particular school is unusual because we go from pre-school right through to Year 13. Here we're single sex girls, but we have a co-ed school too that goes from Year 7 to 13. We'll have to go down to the Lower School later to meet those staff - it's a worth the trip though, those guys are great. We can jump in the car and go out to the other campus. It's about 30 minutes away, depending on traffic. The students there are different to ours, so it's always interesting to hear what they're up to.
Other than that I suspect a meeting in this staff room is much like your own. A mix of administrivia, updates, politics, and work towards a current theme that fits with the strategic plan of the place, mostly delivered from the leaders at the front of the room.

Now let me take you on a tour of my virtual staff room. Yes, I know at the moment it looks exactly like me in my civvies with my laptop, plonked on the couch, but don't be fooled! Let me just open up Tweetdeck. It’s 8:30pm Thursday and we’re right on time for #edchatnz. I voted on today’s topic, so I’ve had a say in what we’ll discuss. Even if it’s not the topic I particularly wanted, it’s perfectly okay to just plug in and watch so I can learn more.
The lovely host, @MissDtheTeacher, starts by asking us where we’re tweeting from. It’s a nice way to get warmed up, and fascinating to see the huge range of people here. No physical or geographic boundaries to prevent us from collaborating. Here comes the first question. It’s useful to answer with A1 (etc) at the front of your tweet so that the conversation’s easier to follow. You also should add #edchatnz somewhere in the body so that the tweets are grouped together.

It’s full on this evening! Ideas are flying, connections are being made, I’m whizzing between Tweetdeck and my web browser and my curation tool checking out the links teachers suggest to save the ‘good stuff’ for later reflection. I love how there’s a careful balance between big picture educational ideas and practical classroom suggestions. The questions being posed really allow this to happen. Who knew you could learn so much from 140 characters?! There are primary teachers here, secondary teachers, pre-service teachers, international teachers, education advisers… all on an equal footing as we learn from each other. Yes, okay, I guess it is a staff room utopia. That’s probably why I find myself fizzing at the end of one hour. Which is now! Goodness, time flies and all that. While I certainly enjoy my physical staff room, my professional learning is significantly enhanced through participation in my virtual staff room - which is your staff room too.


8 comments:

  1. Lovely story telling in this! Thanks @akeenreader for a great post :-)

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  2. Great reading! I feel exactly the same. The tough part is convincing all the fence sitters at my school!

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    1. That's why we are having a conference this year! To get to more of those fence sitters ;-)

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  3. Great reading! I feel exactly the same. The tough part is convincing all the fence sitters at my school!

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  4. A great summary of what it is like Phillipa on #edchatnz. At my school I have a twitter list of staff and tag them flat out during #edchatnz. Some are retweeting and there have been a few who have ventured with their first tweet. It does take time but worth it with staff at school.

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