“Tomorrow gets me higher”

I’m making an effort to blog more often. In fact, my aim this year is to set a goal of one post per month and just reflect on what I’ve experienced in the job, rather than just lobbing something out there when that something happens.
Mind you, I have a habit of taking tangents, so who knows what will happen.

So the school year has started, and I’m feeling under pressure (RIP David and Freddie)…

I’ve got a bit on my plate this year, and the more I think about it, the more it worries me. What I most worry about is, as a “leader” in my school, I find myself moving further away from what it is I love so much about teaching – working meaningfully with the kids in a classroom, and having fun.

I’ve noticed that my attention is being shifted by forces outside my control. Don’d get me wrong. I’m all for big picture vision and whole school outlooks, and this has become more important at my school where we face pressure from independent schools with respect to maintaining student (and staff) numbers.
My leadership role continues to expand. I’m leading a BYOD project; I’m heavily involved in in our feeder schools transition program; I’m in charge of a faculty of 6; I oversee the school Sport program and I’m part of the professional development team.

Not to forget my direct work with the kids – I’m teaching a HSC subject and 5 other classes. I also want to have a bit of fun with some extra curricular projects – a games building club, and a transition project that involves building a virtual copy of our school in Minecraft.

There’s a lot of “I’s” in that – I don’t like lists or self promotion so I, weirdly, feel awkward even mentioning what I do. As if it’s almost an excuse or justification for a whinge. I don’t like whingers either. But it sets the context for why I don’t feel exactly ready to leap into the new year. Bron Stuckey, someone I admire for her passion and ideas around games and education, posted this on Facebook and it sums up pretty much how I feel at the moment

I have lots running through my head at the moment. I know I will have to fulfil my systemic responsibilities – that’s my job. If I don’t – I don’t have one. Teaching and learning is an inherent part of that, but I feel I’m being distracted by systemic requirements that are now compulsory.  The formal workload and responsibility for “middle managers” in this area has suddenly increased. That is scaring me.

What scares me even more is that school will not be the fun and exciting place it’s proven to be in the past because of the hard fun some extra curricular projects have provided. I honestly see that hard but enjoyable part of my job withering as time goes on. And I don’t like that idea. At all.

I am focussed on making some changes to the way I go about teaching so that my day to day contact with the kids maintains it’s appeal, for if I lose that, I lose the will to teach. Playing with 3D GameLab will be my fun learning focus this year, making it as authentic as possible. The importance of connecting what I do in class with the real world is a priority, so balancing course outcomes with real life skills is the aim. I’ll probably explain that a bit better with examples as we move through the year. Hopefully.

One thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be very judicious in the way I interact with Twitter. I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the #eduTwitter community and I find some aspects of it greatly irritate me with the vacuousness and self promotion of it all. I like new ideas – they are essential for growth and sustainability. But what I’me seeing are people rehashing other people’s existing IP as their own, claiming credit and demanding people broadcast their greatness. Twitter has become the echo chamber it always threatened to be, and it’s getting harder to sift to the dross to find the diamonds. Maybe I’m getting old, pining for the old days (ha! – 2 years ago) when collaboration and sharing actually came without catches or muffins.

Anyway, maybe I’ll see you out on the Interwebs. I’ll be the bloke with his head down, bum up.


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3 thoughts on ““Tomorrow gets me higher””

  1. Hi Jonesy,
    I’ve followed you on Twitter for about a year or so based on the recommendation of the PE Geek who I went to uni with. I’ve just read this blog and I can really relate to it. Had a year off teaching in 2015 and travelled with my wife, and have come back to a Head of PE role for the first time in my career. School curriculum has not been updated for few years by the look of it and I’m keen to get into it but finding my brain going around in circles with all the things I need to do. I’ve turned to Twitter for some inspiration and collaboration but also feel as if it’s hard to sift through everything on there to find something useful.
    What would you suggest as a meaningful way to get some insight into best practice for developing a new PE curriculum and implementing change within a PE department? Basically just keen to start a dialogue with anyone that has experience to gather ideas about how schools structure their PE and assess for learning? I’ve only ever taught at one school so have nothing to compare to.

    • Hey Brendan, thanks for your interest in the blog. Yeah, tough question. I started my Twitter journey feeling dissatisfied with the conference and workshop circuit, and found that Twitter chats were awesome for the immediacy of the ideas and the collaboration potential. As my post indicates, it’s become less effective as Twitter becomes dominated by salespeople. I do have a couple of tips. The PhysEdSummit 5.0 might be worth checking out. The last one was pretty good with presenters from all over the world. As well, think global, act local – do you have the capacity to build PE Teacher network locally? My district gives PE Faculty leaders a chance to regularly meet and share ideas – and it’s a great experience. Lastly, check out the work of Ash Casey, and Dean Dudley – both academics trying to bring research and practitioners together. They are both on Twitter. Last thing – when you do think your’re ready to try something, start small, take small steps and focus on bringing everyone along. That will take some planning and negotiation, but it’s much better to work as a team and enjoy the journey than be the outrider with no-one to reflect with. Good luck and see you on line sometime 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply and tips! Will be sure to check out Dean Dudley and Ash Casey along with your other advice. I certainly appreciate it!


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