Firstly - commitment! It's hard to keep following a team that suffers the slightest of losses week in and week out without some kind of commitment. This relates to my classroom as sometimes you just have those kids who no matter how hard you think you try with them, they don't seem to do as well on the assessment task as you thought they would. But you don't just leave them to their own devices, you work with them, find other ways and continue to offer them support with the hopes that one day it will click and the wins will come!!
Another thing I've learnt to deal with is flexibility. Being a joint venture, the Wests Tigers play their home games out of three different venues - Leichhardt Oval, Campbelltown Stadium and ANZ Stadium. Each home game we need to decide a) whether we are going (as we only have an LO & ANZ membership), b) how we are going to get there c) where to park... the usual! Each ground has their own pros and cons. When we play at Leichhardt we have amazing seats, but if it rains - we get soaked... like we did last week!
This is exactly how it is in teaching. Every week, day, heck, even every lesson can be totally different from the one before and we need to be able to 'go with the flow' and be adaptable. I like to think that this is one thing that I've grown to be able to do quite well in my years of teaching. Changing to a new school has been hard for me in this regard as I used to know my old programs inside out and back to front - but I'm getting there.
This year I am playing 'SuperCoach' with my husband and a bunch of his mates. This has brought my interest in rugby league to a whole new level. In the past I have enjoyed looking up the statistics of the game - which player made the most runs, which team was penalised the most (usually us!) and how our players are progressing each week. I like to 'analyse' players growth, as this is the most important part of SuperCoach. You need to pick a team of players who are the best in each of their respective positions across all clubs in the competition.
I feel that data is an important part of our job, if it is used in the right way. It is important to be able to track your students growth across a variety of areas to ensure that you are meeting their needs and that they are progressing well. As a teacher of the HSC, we spend quite some time analysing the students from the previous year's HSC results in order to see if there are any patterns and work on strategies that we could implement to ensure that the future students grow. We also spend quite some time analysing NAPLAN results to look at the student's progress in literacy and numeracy. These are all important to ensure that teaching programs are created with enough rigour for the top students as well as providing opportunities for those who struggle to achieve.
I guess the biggest thing I take away from my Wests Tiger's love is PASSION... I have an orange car, my dog's name is Farah, we have a signed Wests Tigers jersey in our lounge room (and no photos from our wedding day!) and most of my wardrobe is orange (see my photo!). My husband - who thankfully is also a Tigers supporter - and I attend at least 15 games a season and watch every other game on the TV... so yes... the passion is there!
It was exciting when I read Dave Burgess' book, 'Teach Like a Pirate' when he spoke about using your personal passion in your classroom to engage your students. I was so releived when he went on to say that there's nothing wrong with sharing your passions with your students! I am not backwards in announcing my 'obsession' with my students at the beginning of the year and it's amazing how it helps to break down the walls between some students (boys and girls alike!). A lot of Monday mornings involve celebrating or more recently commiserating with students who also go for the Tigers!! When it comes to getting behind anything, I do it 110% - including my teaching - and I love being able to share that with my students and other teachers.
I would like to say that my love of the Wests Tigers has lead me to be able to have a diplomatic conversation with a supporter of the team we have just been beaten but, but sometimes that crazy lunatic just comes out and I get a little carried away. I do, however, try to make sure that I develop a well-researched response without losing my cool. I know that we can't take the crazy road in education when we don't agree with anything... so being able to take the time to think about what I'm saying and ensure that my points are valid and reliable is important to me.
In closing, I really hope that the boys can get out of their slump this week and bring home a win against the Canberra Raiders. My coordinator goes for them, so if for anything a win would mean that I wouldn't have to deal with him laughing at me on Monday morning!!