#IMMOOC: Manna From Heaven

#IMMOOC: Manna From Heaven

It’s hard to imagine that the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC is coming to a close.   I’m ever so grateful for this IMMOOC community as this came at just the right time when I was going through a rough patch in my teaching career when our 1st-grade team was falling apart due to illness and these blog posts have sustained me, keeping me focused on the students and moving me forward in my practice–even if it felt like running through peanut butter. There are people who I’ve never met before that have touched my heart or provoked my thinking in a such a way that made me shift a bit in my approaches to teaching and learning. I’d like to share a sample of some of the great educator’s out there who have come along on this journey and supported me (even though they didn’t quite know it).

 

When all is said and done, innovation is not only crucial to education…it is essential. Our students need us to stay- up on our game.  It is our responsibility to build learning experiences that they will enjoy, and will benefit them in the months and years to come.  Heidi Solway

Yep, that comment from Solway’s Class 11 reminded me of not wasting time to feel disappointed or upset by the disruption. “It is our responsibility” kicked me right out of sour attitude;  even though I may not have the collaboration I wish I had to get the Grade 1 combined classes going, I felt an urgency to move forward and figure things out.  She talks in another blog post that innovation is a cure for perfectionism,  that she thinks of teaching like a sport, That idea, was a game-changer for me. No pun intended. Sports are fun and, even if my team players were “on the bench”, it was my duty to “win the game for them” by blocking out all the “noise” and keep focused on the kids. Thank you, Heidi!

 

Stay determined when things don’t look like they are working out. But also be open to changing how you approach your goal. In order to reach your goals, you need to be flexible. Opportunities may not always come in the way we expect them. 

Well, this Teacher in Motion blog post was another inspirational one that got me thinking about how I could think about this situation as an opportunity, I dare say, a gift. I started to think about the different ways I could approach some of the challenges that I was facing. I dug in and started doing some research into New Zealand’s initiative into Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) and started to think about how I can frame this challenge, which I blogged about A Journey into Design Thinking to Tackle Classroom Challenges. But it is amazing how a few sentences can get your mind reeling and off in a new direction. Thank you, Kate!

 

My worst nightmare was realized when I heard a student say, “I don’t want to work in groups, I just want to work alone”.  I didn’t know what to do. I knew that my classroom culture was set up so that students could learn from each other, build positive relationships, and work cooperatively and collaboratively. So what do you do with the student that wants to work in isolation? Michelle Schade

This blog post made a different sort of impact on me.  It reminded me that the challenges I face are not unique–even if we didn’t have open-concept type learning environments, in a “normal” learning environment, some students work best alone. Michelle describes how she uses technology to help solve this challenge. I haven’t gone the technology route yet like Michelle, but the desire to meet the needs of our learners is a struggle that we can face together.  The blog post did get me thinking how I might designate one of our classrooms as the “independent” room (aka “quiet room”) and one room the “collaborative” (aka “noisy room”) so that the students who wanted to work alone had the opportunity to go into that space and escape from conversation to focus.  Now that I have a new full-time teaching partner, I’m thinking about how we can create some  “quiet” spaces and some “huddle rooms” within the two classrooms so we can balance out the noise distribution.

Nevertheless, if it hadn’t been for Michelle’s post, I wouldn’t have reflected and started to develop an iteration of our learning environment. Thank you, Michelle!

Even though this is my 2nd time engaging in this MOOC, I’ve gleaned more insights and felt challenged. It has been a time of personal reflection, evaluation of mindset and school culture and a time of developing connections with other like-minded individuals. Probably this latter part has been my favorite and what makes this so impactful and why I keep coming back to the IMMOOC. Thank you, George Curous, for writing the book and for cultivating such a great community. This has felt like manna from heaven–the ideas and virtual connections have been powerful and life-giving!

 

 

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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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