One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to get myself back in shape. Like many people, I’ve allowed my life to become crowded with many different things and finding time to dedicate to myself hasn’t always been at the top of my to do list. On Plurk , one of the main places where my PLN has developed, there are many of us who are working towards getting in better shape. We encourage one another and give each other advice and inspiration. One of my “friends” has lost 10 pounds since the beginning of January which I think is just awesome. There are all kinds of people, mostly educators, in my PLN who are willing to share and help one another with all kinds of things, even times when things aren’t going well for family members. This had me thinking about how things are changing and developing in a world that is becoming more interdependent through the use of various tools and technologies. I’ve seen so many really great tools coming out and I wonder where exactly they will fit within our existing school framework. Then, the other day, I heard a comment that really struck me. “Live in the moment. Be in the moment. Nothing else exists but this moment.” On the surface, this doesn’t seem that insightful. I mean, most of us have heard this numerous times. However, at that moment, I was worrying about many different things and wondering how exactly things were going to work out. I was anxious about the future and what it holds for me in a number of different ways. Then I heard this and it struck me that I only have this moment to “be in” and trying to guess what would happen or relive what had happened was indeed using time I could better use for being where I am. As I began to ponder this thought more and more, I began to see how it might change how I looked at the situations I face each day. Part of being an administrator is looking forward, planning for next week, next month and next year. It’s looking forward and trying to plan for what is coming. Now, this is something that is very important and vital to the overall development and growth of the school. Whether it’s planning for an upcoming meeting, putting together the items for an upcoming report, deciding what courses to offer in the upcoming year or just seeing what we need to do as a school to improve in upcoming weeks and months, much of what I do focuses on what we have done and where we are going. On this day, “be in the moment” was not something I had necessarily been doing much of. Since then, I’ve begun to remind myself that I need to “be in the moment” and to focus on the “moment that is at hand.” without allowing other distractions to draw me away from that moment. In just a few short days, I’ve begun to notice a difference in how I’m approaching things. When someone talks, I’ve reminded myself to quit doing other things and listen, to focus on that person. When I’m in the vehicle with one of my children, I don’t listen to music or the radio but talk with them. I’ve begun to focus on not only what students are saying but how they say it, trying to see if their words and presentation are in sync. Instead of rushing through my walk-throughs, I’m spending a bit more time just being in the room and taking in what is happening, not focusing on taking notes or anything but what is happening with the teacher and the students. I can’t tell you if it’s making any huge differences but it making me much less stressed since I’m not focusing on what’s next but what’s now. I’ll see how well this works in the next week as I tackle timetabling, end of semester exams, report cards, supervision and a few other wrinkles and twists. Whatever the outcome, it did bring into focus that, as an administrator, I need to be able to plan for the future the best I can but I must be in the moment. We all know about the best laid plans of mice and men …… So where does all this fits with my PLN, Plurk and the future of schools? Well, my PLN is very much a great example of “be in the moment” type of communication and learning. It’s focused on the now and what is happening in the lives of these people who have accepted to be my friends. I can go back in time but it still focuses on what’s happening now. It also gives me access to at the moment PD which is a huge shift from how many educators think of PD. Really, I can ask a question and get learning ideas from many different people who might all be offering different ideas, links and thoughts. This in turn is something that, for the most part, is missing from our schools. That ability to access our networks to gather information and search out input so that we can better understand whatever happens to be our question. For me, it’s constructivist education as it should be, learners constructing education as they seek out new knowledge provided to them, not by one source, but by different sources which they must filter through and either accept, discard or file because they aren’t sure and need more information. In schools we have the tools to do this. Unfortunately, educators, primarily administrators, are being forced to choose between this type of learning and many of our traditional methods because of the need for safety of the students which is sad but true. Education of the future might have a totally different face to it but we aren’t there and in this moment, we, as educators, need to be in this moment helping our students to access the information available in a safe and secure manner. Whatever education might look like in the future, we aren’t there so we are better off focusing on making the best of now for the good of our students.
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