Transformation was the big theme of our year. So the image I had chosen for my Twitter icon seemed an appropriate one. Among lots of other things, it made me wonder why I chose it as my icon when I joined Twitter. Was it some subconscious thought about my own transformation, a sense that I was still learning and growing, that I am constantly in search of who I am. Or more likely, I just liked the photo I had taken in Hamilton Gardens that sunny summer day! But when we are asked to choose things that represent who we are, what are roots are, where we come from I think we do search for things with meaning however subconsciously.
This year we have been asked many questions, we have questioned, we have been asked to ask questions of ourselves and we have sought answers. We have not always found them and we were often sidetracked by questions that were lurking in the undergrowth to challenge us further. The rhizomes took us further into the dark and mysterious chasms of doubt, self-doubt, wonderings, wonder, discovery and enlightenment and then back again!
I decided to use the images of our first Master Class to make a digital story, so here it is.
On the Core Education website it describes eFellows thus; “CORE’s eFellows are deeply passionate, skilled, and inquiring New Zealand educators from early childhood to senior secondary. They push the boundaries of e-learning by embarking on a year-long fellowship explore innovative, effective, and equitable teaching and learning. The purpose of the eFellowship is to inspire transformational practice through inquiry.” I was one of seven eFellows from around the country this year and I have certainly had an inspiring year in which my thinking was challenged and extended. I met many people who are experts in the field of education, and they have encouraged me to believe in myself, to question what is happening around me, to challenge the status quo and to look at learning from different perspectives.
Our journey started back at Ulearn13 when we were presented on stage before the keynote presentation by Mark Pesce. I remember little of his talk because my phone was buzzing with congratulatory tweets and my head was buzzing with the excitement, how could I possibly concentrate?
Actually my journey had begun a few months earlier when I had been encouraged to apply. I wasn’t sure, I wanted to but didn’t really believe I was good enough. I am glad that I let myself be persuaded because it has been a fantastic experience. Then a week before Ulearn13 when I was in the middle of moderating Spanish NCEA portfolios with a colleague I received a phone call… It was John Fenaughty from CoreEd calling to tell me I had been successful in my application. His enthusiasm was infectious – I would have been excited anyway – but I was doubly so and could hardly contain myself. My heart was racing, I wanted to sing, I could hardly breathe and I think I just kept saying “Thank you, thank you”. And then the hardest part was when he said that I had to keep it a secret until it was announced at Ulearn! I mean, how can you keep such a big thing a secret? I was bursting with excitement and I couldn’t tell anyone! I daren’t go on Twitter just in case my fingers typed all on their own what I desperately wanted to shout from the roof tops! Luckily it was the holidays and I didn’t have to see anyone! I confess that I did tell my husband – never keep a secret from your dearest!
After Ulearn things went quiet for a while; in the hustle and bustle of exams, the end of the year, Christmas, New Year and the summer holidays I might have almost thought it had all been a dream or a not very funny joke! However, in January the emails started arriving from John and Shannon. We were to have three Master Classes of three days each in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington and then a week at Ulearn14 in Rotorua when we would present our research. Our flights were all booked and the eFellowship started to seem like it was real! I guess it didn’t really feel like we were properly on our journey until we met for the first time in Auckland in March. That was the start of a true fellowship of friendship, shared experiences, and shared memories. Rowan Taigel, Marnel van der Spuy, Tim Gander, Bec Power, Ben Britton, Vicky Hagenaars – we will be “#efellows14 4 life”!