My year of Agency

I haven’t felt successful in a while. I’m glad this feeling has come to me on a Friday afternoon knowing that I will ease into the weekend feeling like this has been a great finish. Starting this year off in Grade 5, a class I had never taught and adding the agency concept into the mix of it all is to say the least, overly  ambitious. 

My team and I started off the year in pretty great spirits. We were all on different journeys in regards to agency and we had our lives outside of it all. We were determined to empower learners to design their learning, plan their own trips and write their own budgets. We knew what we were doing and couldn’t wait to get on this exciting path.

Two weeks in and all hell was breaking loose(this memory still triggers me).We had thrown out the first unit and attempted to write the new unit from scratch. The biggest mistake of them all is that we had no systems in place that would keep us together before it could all come tumbling down. Those were the most stressful 7 weeks ever.

What I had not seemed to prepare myself for is that agency does test you as a human. Agency will force you to have the conversations you seem to be shying away from. You and your new found beliefs will be put to test. Like, Is your teaching really grounded in solid pedagogy? Is your image of the child really what you seem to think it is? Do you have agency as a teacher? Do you truly understand agency? These are all the questions I have had to dig through to find myself because at the end of it all, if I don’t know who I really am then the foundation from which I base my instruction is shaky ground.

It has been a rough 6 months from having many lightbulb moments to feeling like I was engulfed in darkness. To not writing at all and questioning whether I was in the right profession. From giving students choice workshops every Friday to trying to prove to parents that we have covered the different benchmarks and their child will be ready for middle school. From hoping to teach children to set and plan their homework to filling up their time with math problems so that I can prove that they have retained the knowledge dispensed to them. My journey had been a wrecking ball swinging from one extreme to another with the hope that I aim for something specific and feel successful at one.

This week started off a little shaky. Little did I know that this would help me unpack what agency truly is for me. One of my students was found using technology inappropriately which could have potentially escalated into cyber bullying. I decided to use this as a teaching point. We unpacked PYP concepts using this incident, I shared my twitter account and we talked about who we want to be on social media and how we choose who we want to be. My favourite part? Watching TikTok videos to get inspiration for PYPx. What was different about this week is that it allowed me to be human. I allowed myself to feel.I journaled.  I allowed my personal life into my work life.I’ve been vulnerable with them and tried to understand their struggles, and how I might be part of their problem. I’ve allowed myself to fail. I’ve made decisions without seeking approval. I’ve existed. From letting go and allowing myself to be, I’ve found who I was. I’ve made friends with my curriculum. I’ve read it over and over. I am making friends with benchmarks and my curriculum. I am letting my true self into my teaching because only then, can we truly be free…

Kahubire

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