Connections, Confessions and Reflections

Thanks for joining me! I’m Cath! I’m an International School Early Years Educator, a PYP workshop leader and I’m a wannabe geek. I’m excited by how technology enables me to make global connections and I recently presented my journey on becoming a Networked Educator at the Vietnam Tech Conference. From Lurking to Collaborating

This year my #oneword2018 is CONNECT, so I’m taking risks, and discovering ways to make global connections, in as many ways as I can. Its becoming very addictive!

Confession time: It’s my Spring Break. I’m physically away from school but my brain is still in teacher mode. I’ve escaped the Hanoi chaos and smog and come the beach to soak up the fresh air, sunshine and sounds of the sea. My aim was to just relax for a few days, find a peaceful chill out place to recharge the batteries. Unfortunately, I cannot, CANNOT switch off my brain! I am constantly thinking of work, school, my profession, my role as an early years educator.

Second confession: I am an addict! Yes, I behave more like a teenager, using most spare moments looking at my iPhone, frequently checking Facebook and Twitter. I’m addicted to Social Media !

More confessions: I feel like an imposter. Although I add to my school’s weekly blog, I really don’t know what I am doing with this brand new WordPress site I have created. I follow @makinggoodhumans on Twitter, and when I saw Taryn’s call for IB people who are interested in being part of a shared blog, I signed up. I love the idea of  a place for to share/celebrate risks, big&small, in the ways they’re pushing boundaries in pursuit of  I’m excited to be just ‘One Voice’ of this new  #IBrebelalliance .

IMG_5800I teach at UNIS Hanoi, and as part of our professional development, we all choose a Teacher Inquiry. I wanted to find out about the new PYP enhancements and implement more student agency in my kindergarten classroom. Here are my reflections and connections 

I have volunteered to lead a workshop at an Early Years conference on 14th April and yes, here comes another confession! I am not yet prepared for it!

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 11.02.16 PMThis might look professional, but I wrote this workshop proposal months ago, following an inspiring PD with Fiona Zinn. Now I am feeling that imposter syndrome kicking in. At least I am modeling how to be a risk-taker!

I intend to give the participants advice on how to look for learning when children play, however, I must confess: I don’t always practice what I preach! I regularly ‘preach’ about how children learn best through play, yet I rarely use playtime to look for the learning! When my own class of 18 students are happily and independently playing, I seldom use this opportunity to listen carefully, or observe closely. I tend to take lots of videos of students during play to capture ‘student voice’, (with the intention of watching/listening once the kids go home) in order to inform my next steps for teaching, but honestly after a busy day,  Im tired! Although I often create iMovies to share with parents on the weekly class blog, I rarely take the time to really listen to individual student voices and seldom use this kind of documentation to inform my teaching.

Right now my mind is busily trying to organize next week’s workshop into 90 minutes worth of relevant, significant, engaging yet challenging and playful provocations and learning engagements for an unknown quantity of Early Childhood educators that I do not know! I also intend to provide opportunities for the adult participants to make choices, share their thinking, feel comfortable with being out of their comfort zone and experience learner agency.

So, now I think I my workshop title should be: It’s OK for teachers to not always practice what they preach OR  It is OK to make mistakes, try new things and share the challenges of teaching young children.


2 thoughts on “Connections, Confessions and Reflections

  1. Thanks for sharing, Cathy! Again I am seeing myself in your words. Ever since I went to an ECIS conference in Vienna in November my brain WILL. NOT. SHUT. OFF! I like to think it did over the winter break, but this still consisted of me becoming a Seesaw Ambassador while in New York and listening to multiple podcasts while on busses between the Baltic Countries in Europe. That was my brain’s idea of switching off, haha.

    This week while on holidays again I embraced it a little. I knew it would happen. But sun and beach were good enough of a getaway from the negative temperatures in snowy Switzerland. I was still constantly on Twitter and read the book Social LEADia (amazing and highly recommended). Embracing it made me feel a little better about it, rather than trying to shove the teacher in me out of my brain to “try and get a proper break.” Good luck with your conference! This is one of my next goals as well. While it is a fear, I know stepping up will help me in the long run.


  2. Hi Cathy,
    I used to feel guilty for not switching off for some reason, but if I enjoy it what’s the problem? As long as it doesn’t lead to burnout and I don’t ignore the kids! (My kids, I mean.) 🙂
    I think what would help me (and others) identify learning through play and reflect more regularly about how to inform the next steps is to have more informal/formal meetings with my team. Sometimes we need the support and sharing of ideas to help us think more clearly and see what’s in front of us. Often, I find myself isolated and discussions I have are more about what I have done instead of what I could do.
    Good luck with the conference. I look forward to reading your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

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