Aviva Dunsiger very kindly nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award a few days ago. (Her post is here.) I was flattered and humbled, since I’m fairly new to blogging, and Aviva has been on the blogging scene for quite some time. Being such a newbie, I’d never even heard of the Liebster Award, so I did a little digging. I found this post to tell you more about it: Sopphey Says. It’s really a sort of blogging chain letter. I love the concept, so I’m in.
Here are the rules for the award:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 3-5 blogs with less than 3 000 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by the nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about you.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees to inform them of their nomination.
My Answers to Aviva’s Questions:
1. What do you love about education that you hope will remain a part of it for many years to come? Why? I am passionate about public education. It’s one of the most important services a democratic society provides for its citizens. At its best, it ensures that all children have equal opportunities to grow, to learn and to work together with all kinds of people.
2. What are your future educational goals? I’m looking forward to having an influence in a larger sphere in education.
3. How do you bring about change in your school and/or in your Board? The best way to bring about change is through sustained, ongoing effort within the strong relationships I have built over time. Good relationships are built on trust. In addition, an understanding of change theory is essential so when you hit bumps on the road or just plain roadblocks, you are prepared and know what to do next.
4. What changes would you like to see in education? Why? A de-emphasis on the use of external standardized testing within districts is a necessary change. We need accountability, and we need to know how well students are learning, but the use of the pencil and paper standardized, multiple choice test needs to change.
5. What are your professional development goals for this year? So, I want to learn to use Prezis effectively, I want to inject creativity into my interactions and presentations, and I want to learn more about how to create the best conditions for learning.
6. What word would you use to best describe you as an educator? Why? Honest. I try to make my thinking and learning visible to others. I don’t shy away from feedback, either giving or getting. I share my opinions openly.
7. What word would your colleagues use to best describe you as an educator? Why? Global thinker. I have an ability to see the big picture in different situations, synthesize new information and adjust my viewpoint.
8. What’s your favourite educational quote? There are far too many truly outstanding quotes to narrow it down to one. I like to highlight a different quote every week for staff. In the past, I have posted it on the Monday Message and on my office door. Here’s one I like a lot: “If teaching were easy, we wouldn’t need teachers.” by Todd Whitaker.
9. What’s your favourite technology tool to use in the classroom? Why? It’s so important that we make technology work for us to create conditions for 21st century thinking and learning. It’s not about the latest shiny gadget, and it’s not even about 1:1. We need to teach creativity, collaboration, inquiry and critical thinking. I’m not in the classroom, but now I work with leaders who are trying to create those conditions. If leaders can use and model tools as they work on this, it may help move teachers who are fearful, anxious, or reluctant. Social media is one way: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or blogs. Our district has a fantastic blogging platform created by Jared Bennett and Aaron Puley called the HWDSB Commons.
10. Would you suggest that other educators start to blog? Why? Blogging is a great reflective tool. It brings order to all the thoughts flying around in your head after long days and nights at school. It provides an archive for you to track your ideas and growth as an educator. Even if you just do it once a month, it will add value to your life. Try it!
11. How do you remain positive in education? I remove myself from negative people. I empathize but offer alternative viewpoints if I hear negative conversations. I focus on what we’re here for. If a child can’t make you laugh aloud every day, there’s something wrong.
Eleven Facts About Myself:
1. I am privileged to have a job I love and find deeply satisfying. I look forward to work every day. Where else do you have such an opportunity to make a difference to someone?
2. I train for and complete a few triathlons every year. I love swimming, cycling and running. It gets me outside in all kinds of weather. Plus, when you set a goal and complete it in a race, it feels great.
3. I’m an avid reader with wide ranging tastes. Reading is both professional and personal for me. You can see my reading shelf at Shelfari.
4. My favourite colour is purple.
5. I love the woods. Next time you feel stressed out, go for a trail walk (or run!) amongst trees.
6. I started my career in French Immersion schools after a year in Paris, France as an au pair and degrees in French.
7. Fashion is fun! There’s no such thing as too many pairs of shoes. (Well, maybe there is.)
8. I’m not funny, but I love to laugh.
9. I love to travel. Whether it’s choosing a destination, anticipating the departure, experiencing what’s new or well- known or sampling great food and drink, it’s part of my privilege to see the world.
10. I’m a perfectionist. ‘Nuff said.
11. I use stories to understand the world, whether through novels, TV shows, movies, or listening to others talk about their lives. We have a common story (Joseph Campbell, anyone?) that can bring us all together.
Choosing nominations was difficult, especially since Aviva highlighted some that I would recommend as well. (See the Blogs I Follow page) I decided to focus on people in formal leadership roles. Here are my nominations:
John Robinson – The 21st Century Principal
Shelley Burgess – Reflections of an educational learner and leader
Chris Kennedy – Culture of Yes
Eleven Questions for my Nominees:
1. Why do you blog?
2. Why education?
3. What is the most important thing you learned this year?
4. What is the best piece of feedback you have ever received?
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
6. What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a teacher or a principal?
7. What web application do you use every day and why?
8. What’s the best thing a student ever said to you?
9. What’s your favourite part of your job?
10. Whose blog do you always look forward to reading and why?
11. How do you maintain the discipline to blog regularly?