improving professional communication

A big, cheery “Hello” to everyone reading this! My ECS 200 volunteering today got cancelled due to a power outage, so I decided to blog away a little bit of the enormous open time slot I now have.

I have realized two things about my professional communication that I can work on improving:

  1. I have always really enjoyed blogging and sharing my thoughts with the world online. Until recently, however, I have never really put an equal amount of effort into reading others’ posts. Then I realized: if I get a warm, fuzzy feeling from someone commenting on one of my posts, I should be sharing this warm, fuzzy feeling with others. How am I building my professional personality by expecting others will read my posts and share their ideas about them, when I am not reciprocating the action? ECS 210 has really helped me to realize that it is a two-way street of sharing your thoughts AND your thoughts on others’ thoughts. What good is putting information out there when you are not taking other perspectives’ in? So, it is my new goal to read a lot more of the blog posts that come up on my WordPress feed. If you know of a blog that I should be following, please comment it down below! 
  2. Image  I saw this tweet from a fellow ECS 210 classmate (@parker3e – go follow her!) recently, and it made me realize that I do this too much. In a conversation, I am frantically thinking up relevant responses that link to what the speaker is saying, and then end up missing half of what they shared because I am either caught up in my own thoughts or trying to remember what I wanted to say back. I really need to practice listening fully to someone until they are finished talking, and then give myself time to reflect on it and bridge off with my own response. It is a shame that our society views silences in conversation as awkward, because I find that I need that extra time to really think about what I’ve heard in order to make a thoughtful reply. Do you catch yourself doing this, too? It would be nice to know I am not alone – haha.

Those are my professional development goals, for now. Wish me luck!

Do you have any current goals that are guiding you towards becoming a better professional, educator, citizen, or person in general? Do you have any thoughts on my goals? Share them with me in the comments!

-KKF

year 1 done & summer goals

I CANNOT believe that I am finished my first year of university! It was a whirlwind year of learning new things, meeting new people and having great new experiences! I am definitely excited to go back in the fall and continue to work towards my degree (and I am also very excited because my roommate got accepted into the Education program after a ton of hard work!), but I am also happy to have a break for a few months!

Although I have summer holidays (although here in Saskatchewan it doesn’t even feel like spring yet, as the ground is still mostly white from the snow!), I want to keep my teacher mind sharp so have a few goals for myself just to keep fresh with the education world.

1. Read all of the Indigenous Education articles that my classmates in ECS 110 read and my professor posted a list of.

2. Keep reading my Instructor magazines that I get and post and reflections or ideas that spring up from them.

3. Tutor my “summer student” for the third summer in a row! Note to self: Go talk to his homeroom teacher for possible materials and suggestions of what to focus on!

4. Use Twitter and Pinterest as ways to stay connected and get great new ideas.

5. Update my portfolio.

I have always been an avid goal setter and I think that summer holidays are a great time to re-evaluate your goals! I will let you know how I do on accomplishing these (and don’t worry, I still hope to post frequently during the summer!).

Wishing university students a great four month break and teachers, elementary and high school students a happy summer holiday once it comes!

thinking like a teacher, not a student

In ECS 100, I remember my professor telling us that in the Faculty of Education, we are being prepared for the field by being taught how to think like teachers instead of students. Her example:

-a student-thinker will blame things on others. “That prof is such a hard marker!” “Their class is boring.” “I got the bad seminar leader.” and on and on and on…

whereas…
-a teacher-thinker will always reflect back upon their own actions. “They’re right, I didn’t go deep enough.” “Next time, I will know how to properly format my thesis.” “I didn’t realize I was doing it wrong, but now I know the correct way.” “What has this taught me?/What is the point of this class for me as an aspiring teacher?”

I have seen more student-thinkers among my Education peers than I would like to admit. And I can be one myself sometimes, too. But I am just a first year, and so are they. We still have a long way to go. And I ALWAYS cheer myself on by telling myself how a class (that may SEEM pointless and boring and useless to others) can link to Education or how it is shaping me or helping me on my journey towards being an educator. 

At their very roots, the student-thinker and the teacher-thinker are bathed in opposite lights of pessimism and optimism. Maybe this is why I am finding it easy to shift into teacher-thinking: because I am a natural optimist, and, by definition, education is an optimistic field. This takes me back to the topic of my previous post about epiphanies.

One of the girls at my group said: There is no way we can change society as a whole. 
And my response was: That’s not the point of a teacher. It may be the ultimate goal of education to better society on a grand scale, but a teacher can make a difference by changing or helping ONE child. And maybe that child will affect another person, and so on and so forth. That is what will make a change. 

(As I write this, I find myself hoping that my points are showing my passion, and not just coming off as cheesy. But I can’t even describe how strongly I feel for education and being part of the faculty. It is bursting from my chest and seeping out of every pore I have. My greatest goal is to become an amazing teacher and I don’t see any way that I, or anyone else in the program, can do that without open-mindedness and optimism). 

The point of this post is to self-proclaim an improvement within myself, to celebrate a success.

A few days ago, I found myself telling my mom how “my ECS prof is a hard marker,” which may very well be true. But that isn’t the point. I was placing MY mark as HER responsibility, when the truth is, I just didn’t go deep enough. There is always room for improvement! And now that I have got my feet wet with critical thinking, I am hoping that my next mark will see improvement due to my personal improvements.

In fact, I am not hoping, I am making it a goal! And that is what education is all about.