Context:The #OneWordONT project began in 2015 with #OSSEMOOC (Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech MOOC – OSAPAC’s community of leaders learning how technology can change practice in education). Julie Balen took the lead in creating a graphic and encouraging educators to participate in choosing a focus. In 2016, we had many educators choose a focus for their practice during the year. Julie’s depiction gave us a sense of how educators wanted to focus on their practice. By 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education cut funding for OSSEMOOC, but Julie continued to lead the project on her own. Thanks to Julie for continuing this work in 2018!
It’s time again to settle on a focus word for the next year.
I’ve been thinking about this for most of December. I considered the word gratitude. I have been so grateful to my new colleagues in Newfoundland and Labrador for taking me in and learning with me since the new school year began. I know that gratitude will be a huge focus of my life in the coming months as well. I also considered empathy, as it is only through putting yourself in others’ shoes that you can truly understand how to lead in an organization. I thought about kindness, especially after having the chance to work directly with Doug Belshaw this past year. Every single thing we do can be made better with more kindness. But these are already a focus for me, and I need a word that will make a difference for me in 2018.
With all the change in 2017 – moving from Ontario to Newfoundland, moving from eLearning to math leadership, moving from traditional professional learning to online empowerment of teachers – all of these things have taken me away from my own personal work.
I have been so very good at buying paints, and notebooks, starting blogs and making space to work. But I have nothing to show for it. Work is so demanding that I have not taken the time to create.
When we think of networks, we talk about four aspects of being in and learning through others – collecting (information), connecting (with others), curating (information and resources) and creating (to feed the network).
I excel at three. I ignore the 4th.
So to address this, my word for 2018 is
To build effective networks, we need to create and give back to those we are connected with.
If we believe that creativity is a critical component of schools, we need to model it.
It’s powerful to see educators focus on improvement, and reflect on progress. It’s empowering to read reflections on learning and moving forward.
Join us in 2018 in choosing a focus word to enable your professional practice to grow.
On Twitter: #onewordONT (even if you are not practicing in Ontario)
Learn more here: Julie Balen’s Introduction to #OneWordONT
My #onewordONT 2017: Lead
My #onewordONT 2016: Agility
My #onewordONT 2015: Courage
Featured image: Gingerbread house by Chloé Avery, 2 years old.