The Perfect Balance is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time. However with change this year I have struggled with balance and did not feel honest in myself to write this. In recent days though I have had a chance to look back at the career I have carved for myself and then peaked into the future to see what is ahead and a proud feeling came over me. Everyday I aspire to be the very best that I can and I am amazed at the content that appears on Twitter on a daily basis. There is my work program right there. If I never had an individual idea then I think I would be OK as the share factor that is the NEW PE today would be enough to deliver rich content to me students all year round.
To me this is not enough though. I love to be original and try to set the tone and try new concepts and teach from the gut. I once taught with a great PE teacher called Ben Dew (7 years ago) and when we first shared an office, (a very small office) I noticed that he would write in his diary after every lesson three things:
1. What was actually delivered in the lesson.
2. What was interesting in the lesson.
3. What needed improving in the lesson.
At that point I was still a believer that a detailed plan was still required in order to be effective, but the longer I taught with Dewy the more we developed together a curriculum that was student direct and in fact what he was doing with his diary after each lesson was at the forefront of the NEW PE. He was listening to the students and teaching at the point of need rather than the point of lesson planning. He new where he was up to but recorded the outcomes of each lesson so to direct him with his starting point for the next. This is a practise I adopted almost immediately after seeing his theory in practise.
Moving forward 6 years I plan a curriculum in such detail that I am able to teach a terms work bouncing of student ideas. Having a plan of attack is very important but teaching to the point of need is much more effective. I have shared this plan in many Professional Developments that I have led but it is comprehensive that it literally changed the perception of what PE teachers do to my Principal who had been teaching 30+ years and had been a Region Principal. Check out this document here.
The perfect balance refers to finding the sweet spot in education. Finding that ability to juggle just the right amount of roles that really maximise your potential. For me I have always spoken about the magical triangle.
This triangle had three parts to it for me to be successful:
1. Teaching Physical Education
2. Being a Sports Coordinator and managing BIG events
3. Being a professional recognised Presenter
These three facets have truely allowed me to engage in my work practise to be able to create an emotion that brings such joy and satisfaction. Each facet complements the other but it all starts with being a great PE teacher and having a plan. Without a plan there is no direction and with no direction then is no love affair with your job.
According to me and those around me that have seen and been engaged in this same success story the chapters are written as follows.
You get employed to teach PE in a school.
After setting up a fantastic program you notice that great PE produces great sporting outcomes that connect
Great sporting outcomes create opportunities for students and a hook for life long Physical Activity
After a taste of sporting events you decide that there is a carnival you would like to excel at so you build a carnival that breeds excellence and respect
After many years balancing these two that complement each other you develop a theory based around education
You explore your theory and annoy anyone that will listen to you about it
You find a contingent of believers that want to know more so you engage in professional conversations
You set up a Professional Development and share your theories with your teaching PEERS
Achper or equal body see your brilliant work and invite you to present on a wider scale
Which leads to state and national conferences.
The Perfect balance is different for everyone. It is weighted different according to what is important to you but one thing is for sure............ when you know you are balanced then everything falls into place....
My current perfect balance exists as the following:
- Physical Education Teacher and Leader
- School Sport Victorian Region Coordinator
- Professional Development Leader
Share with me what is your perfect balance. What does this title mean to you? How are you going to achieve PERFECT BALANCE in your work life?
@mr_d_pe, Sean De Morton and I were talking tonight about an amazing lesson he had with his classes today during their final stages of their target games unit. He shared with me a story of one child wishing to change the target to suit his style of throw. Sean is a very adaptable teacher and relishes the chance for students to change the challenge. However this conversation gave him a thought about the readiness of his students to truely unpack their own learning. Sean had a front row seat last year at the Achper conference as he watched Andy Vasily and myself present Unpackong PHysEd. What transpired from his lessons today was a emptying of the storeroom as students looked for challenges that would change the challenge of target games. Students quickly designed their own challenges unique to their own understandings of the unit. One of the truely remarkable conversations heard were students sharing success strategies with each other.
Sean and I discussed how important it is for us to set up a lesson right with learning intents and success criteria however the cycle of great facilitating isn't complete until we hear students using similar methods to unpack their own learning. We decided that this accidental lesson needed to be repeated and built into our program. There has been some great names to 'share sessions' going around, demoslam and genius hour are two of my favourites.
However we needed something unique to AussenPhysEd.
So we introduced the PE EXPRESSION SESSION.
The idea is that we would like you involved. This is not an everyday lesson but rather a lesson you introduce to see if students understand the knowledge that you have been sharing. We want students to unpack their openness on by:
- develop a challenge based on your unit with a partner
- have one person remain at the challenge while the other goes off and tries other challenges
- sel their challenge to customers by defining learning intent and success criteria - GET THEM USING THE LANGUAGE
- swap back with their partner
- seek feedback
Have a go- try your own PE EXPRESSION SESSION
you will be dazzled by the student conversations that transpire. Maybe even record these convos on idoceo app for referencing and showcasing further at a later date
That you Ironamn Sean for sharing your day with me
After 15 years teaching in the same setting, 2016 has brought with it a fresh start and a new challenge that tested my strength as an educator. Knowing the entire structure of my previous school added to the success of my program and made the decision even harder to leave. However in order to progress my career I needed to test my methods in a new setting.
Instantly I found myself lost. Going from a Mac environment to a windows environment tested my abilities to find myself around the directory. I never thought that it would be so difficult to even find the easiest of files. However this was always going to be the challenge. Administratively i was lost. I was not able to understand the structure of operations and found myself asking colleagues who do I ask for this and where do I take that. I completely found myself out of my depth and classes were yet to start.
Thankfully teaching balances employment and once lessons commenced I was able to find my comfort zone even though I knew not one child's name. With the use of IDOCEO I captured the pictures of each of my classes and six weeks in we are rocking. Adding quality to lessons with learning intentions, success criteria and challenge activities not only brought a sense of familiarity to my teaching but brought explicit curriculum and visible outcomes to my classes. Students have been enjoying unpacking their learning and I have equally enjoyed watching them guide their own journeys.
Starting fresh is tough- It is character building and I will be honest in saying in the first few weeks I felt that I had completely lost myself. With two weeks left in term 1, I am almost there. Still plenty to do with reports, carnivals, swimming programs and parent teacher interviews but that is why we signed up to teaching. All these come with the job which guides my pathway of continual success.