Taking the challenges and making them opportunities

Wow! It really has been some time since my last post. Looking back on my posts from several months ago I realise I started the year with the best of intentions for my blog, my precious piece of cyber space. Many of these intentions I have kept up (or at least attempted to) in practice, but unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, there have been a few circumstances which have meant that life’s ups and downs have rudely gotten in the way of documenting it here!

Yet, in the space of a week, several people have asked me what’s happening with my blog. To be honest, I was both shocked and flattered that they remembered it existed! And this has become a prompt of me to get back in to my writing. So, given some of the not so great parts of this year, I thought I’d explore how I could change my thinking around these areas to make them positive.

The stimulus for my thinking around this post came from a professional development with the Languages team from Catholic Education SA today. We are fortunate enough to have  the lovely and talented Selena Woodward (@TeacherTechnol) working with us. While discussing the successes and challenges of the project we are currently working on, I commented that a barrier for me has been changing classes with the change of semester. Selena challenged this comment, suggesting that this is an opportunity rather than a barrier and on further reflection, I can see what she means. The work I did with one class, can now be tested out to see if it is equally as effective with another class, with reflection and further adaptation to follow.

One thing that has really struck me recently is the fact that each year of teaching brings different challenges. For me this year, I have been challenged both professionally and personally. On the professional front, it is the first year that I have taught a Year 12 class, and they are combined with a Year 11 class. The idea of teaching Stage 2 (THE big year!) for the first time in a combined Stage 1 and 2 class made me feel physically ill. I had taught Stage 1 before, no dramas. But to get my head around the Stage 2 curriculum and do the students justice in a combined class? I wasn’t so confident in that.

Yet in this challenge has come opportunities, for both myself and the students. Firstly, the Year 11s benefit from seeing and being involved with a Year 12 program…they get a sneaky heads up for what’s in store next year. Meanwhile, the combined class has ensured that I do not get lazy (they keep me on my toes!), but also it has forced my hand in actively seeking support from sources outside of my school. As the only Stage 2 teacher of Italian at the school, and with my inexperience, I have been forced to step outside my comfort zone and accept where my weaknesses lie and network with those who can help me overcome these barriers. This has been at times reaffirming, and at times reassuring that I am on the right track, or am not far off. The challenge has become an area of growth.

So, my goal for the remainder of the year (as horrifically cliche as it sounds) is to take my challenges and think of them in terms of opportunities!

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