Sunday, April 27, 2008

Great Teachers Seminar Alumni Retreat

Darn!! It's all over and I'm home again. The GTS Alumni Retreat is over for another year and it was over way too fast. Hard to believe hos fast 24 hours goes by. It was a great opportunity to come back together and see where we all were after having attended a GTS in the past.

The validation and sense of community that I felt as we sat in a circle and got caught up with each other - sharing our experiences, issues, and practices had to be the highlight of the weekend. Taking time to come together, to pause and reflect on what we do as educators, to listen to others, and discover a shared passion for what you do is a very powerful thing.

I brought, for me (and who knows maybe for you too), an interesting perspective to the retreat. When I attended the GTS last year, I attended as a faculty member who had just finished his fourth year in the classroom at NSCC and had not yet begun a lengthy process that would end up with becoming an academic chair. Now a year later I'm at the alumni retreat, not only as a GTS alumni, but as an academic chair with a completely different perspective on the impact of the GTS. I found myself not only looking at what I do, but how what I do and what I've learned at the GTS would effect the faculty that I work with, great teachers all. As a chair I will do aaht I can to see that that all my faculty get the opportunity to attend the GTS.

I have four faculty attending the GTS this year (which started today - have an amazing weekend everyone) and I know they will come back better for the experience. Now I can't wait until next year when I hope to attend the whole week of the GTS with several of my fellow chairs in tow. We are all very busy, particularly this time of year, but I think it's very important for chairs and others at the College to attend the GTS - there is lots to share, lots to learn and lots to go away with.

It's OK to know that you are good at what you do and that you are part of a company of Great Teachers - we need to be better at celebrating what we do and who we are - and in the presence of the greatest teacher who gives all of us something to aspire to - David Gottshall.

It's the conversations that give the GTS it's power and if you want proof of that look no farther:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Great Teachers Seminar Alumni Retreat

Here I am at Cornwallis and the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre attending the Great Teachers Seminar retreat. We gathered yesterday evening from all over NSCC and the province, 25 great teachers coming back together to share what they have done and experienced since last attending the GTS.

We are off to a good start - David got us in our circle and we re-connected renewing old acquaintances and making new ones. Some new and interesting exercises from David to get a feel for the room - creating human bar graphs based on years of teaching and years at NSCC - some interesting results - many had lots of years of teaching, but less had many years at the College - an indicator for me that we are doing a great job of attracting great teachers to the College. A really cool exercise that I'll add to my tool kit.

We then convened for a most pleasant evening, but not before David actually gave us a handout (testing the extremes of minimally rigid structure) - seven questions that we will share and answer today - I can't wait. The stress and minutiae of the World slipped off my shoulders as soon as I passed through the gates of Cornwallis, and I'm feeling quite refreshed this morning.

Back to the pleasant evening - we solved all of the problems of the World but typically, no one took notes. I suspect that was because we had a glass (or can or bottle..) in our hand and paid heed to David's three rules - Eat, Meet, and Bring Nothing.

I can't wait for today...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Great Teachers Seminar Alumni Retreat

Last year at this time I had the great luck to attend NSCC's Great Teachers Seminar, led by David Gotshall (you can check out the experience here) at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis.

Today and tomorrow alumni of the GTS are getting together back in Cornwallis for a retreat - to reconnect and celebrate nother great year at the College with each other, the amazing team of facilitators, and with David. I can't wait.

If you are an educator, and you get an opportunity to attend a Great Teachers seminar - DO IT!!- the GTS is a cathartic, transformative, restorative and absolutely affirming experience.

I can't wait for the weekend to begin...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Baaaack!!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into the blogosphere...

Hard to believe that it's been over a month since my last post - it's been busy here wrapping up another semester at the College, attending meetings, and watching the last vestiges of Winter and the arrival of Spring (although not all that sure about Spring today - rainy and cold with a threat of snow later tonight).

Well, I'm back now and plan on being a little more regular and consistent with my posting. here are some of the things I have on my mind and hope to blog about over the next little while:
  • Great Teachers Seminar Alumni Reunion...
  • Learning is a team sport...
  • Learning technologies - the cart or the horse...
  • Assessment and Evaluation - what exactly does authentic mean?...
  • NISOD 2008..
And anything else that makes me go hmmm...

(Photo - "Panorama of an Extremely Messy Classroom" - Jenicra84)