Monday, January 30, 2012

Reflection on an interesting and challenging teaching and learning year

A Year of Challenges, Changes and Achievements

What a year!  Over the past couple of months I’ve been reflecting on my learning journey and what my decision to take a break from teaching for most of the year to begin my Masters has meant for me.  To be honest, the ‘break’ from teaching and learning didn’t really happen as I spent a large part of it still teaching and learning!!  What could be better?

I finished the first term as a teacher and Deputy Principal at my previous school, which produced many mixed emotions, as I loved the school, the staff and the students.  The decision to leave and study was in many ways not an easy one, but in other ways was a bit of a ‘no-brainer’.  I had always wanted to challenge my own learning and see how far I could push myself.  As the children in my class said to me – I was following my own advice that I was always giving to them about continuing our learning journeys throughout our lives.  Very wise those 9 and 10 year olds!!  In my very humble opinion, if we don’t continue to learn or are not prepared to keep learning, we are not modelling this to our students and perhaps teaching is not the vocation for us after all.

The learning journey itself has been fantastic.  I’ve completed 5 of the 6 papers and have been challenged in my thinking and also in my pedagogical beliefs about best practice in teaching and learning.  Some of my learning has confirmed and reinforced my pedagogy and some of it has challenged my own beliefs and thinking in a very positive way and has resulted in changes in my practice.

In the last term I was asked to relieve at a school where I was lucky enough to teach and learn with a fantastic group of 6 and 7 year olds.  They were quite honestly wise beyond their years and I learned a great deal from them as they shared their thinking about the world as they see it though their eyes.  They were insightful and often picked up on issues that we don’t give them credit for because they are so young.  The lesson – never underestimate the knowledge and wisdom of children – no matter what their ages.  I’ve always believed this and it is a belief I hold very dear in teaching and learning.  Teachers don’t know everything and, if they think they do and are not prepared to learn with and through their students, then they are most definitely in the wrong vocation. 

For me, this year has only reinforced these beliefs and I can’t wait to begin working with my next classes of amazing teachers and learners.  Yes, we are ALL teachers and we are ALL learners in any classroom in which I find myself.  My classes have always had this as their motto and it is something I will always keep in my mind as I carry on my own teaching and learning journey. 

I’m now in Auckland – a rather big move from Invercargill some would say.  So why has this move been important, why have I done this?  I want to push my teaching and learning further, to challenge myself in a range of different teaching and learning environments.  My ultimate will be to go as far as I can with eLearning however I seem to always have trouble getting away from my passion for Literacy.  Not the worst problem anyone could have.  Combining the two works perfectly for me as I’ve found that the pedagogy of eLearning provides the perfect platform to motivate, enthuse and excite students in their learning.  


  1. Hi Justine,
    Sounds like you've had quite a journey It's so invigorating learning new stuff isn't it? Hope you enjoy Auckland, I'm now in Wellington!


  2. Hi Stephanie!

    It has been an awesome journey - loving Auckland and I've just started teaching and learning at Henderson Intermediate.

    Hope Wellington's going well for you.

    J :-)