Last week my family moved from Australia to New Zealand. Even though the two countries are only a three hour flight apart, it was a logistical nightmare and something that took a year of planning (both in terms of family and company structure).
There were three main reasons why we made the move. Each of them are born out of a worldview that also impacted my classroom teaching style.
Teachers, you can apply this to your classrooms and school leaders can apply this to your school plan and culture.
1. Environment matters…a lot!
We love queenstown. For us it just isn’t the scenery and lifestyle. I’ve always loved being around people who are further ahead in their journey than me. These people help me see further, think bigger.
Every time I have been to Queenstown to work with schools, I have met people who have achieved great things and were here to celebrate as tourists or have moved here to launch their next great enterprise.
. Most teachers who quit teaching do so in the first five years. Much of this has to do with their classroom environment – they don’t like to be there!
I cover how to deal with this in my ‘How to Motivate, Manage & Engage Your Students Course’ where we learn how to set up a classroom culture that suits our personality and goals.
One of my greatest struggles as a teacher was boredom. I’m not the type of person who likes routine. Once my programs were set, students were cultured into how I like to operate, there was not a great deal of variety in my day.
About a year ago, I was starting to feel a bit stuck in routine again. I had built up a great reputation in Australia, was in high demand as a speaker and I felt myself starting to settle.
For some people routine is something they value, it gives them security. If this is you, then what we did would seem crazy. But for me, our move to New Zealand has re sparked creativity, passion and enthusiasm.
2. I wanted my kids to have a bigger world view
I think one of the greatest skills you can teach a child is to be able to embrace change. There is no doubt that the world is rapidly changing.
I don’t think you can prepare your students for a future we can’t predict. All this talk in conferences about preparing students for 2035 is a complete waste of time. If you look back at the predictions being made about the advancement in technology and types of jobs created, we have failed to accurately predict even five years ahead, let alone 20.
The same is true for schools. If you have developed a five year technology plan, you have wasted your time. As a school, you can’t predict where government funding will be allocated, what parents will demand, how technology will develop and what teaching trends will emerge.
Education used to be one of the slowest fields to change. Your five year plans were usually safe and secure, after all nothing changed. This is no longer the case. The Digital Leadership For Learning Program (see below) will help your school develop a plan that specifically meets your needs as a school community and will help you navigate the all the changes we face.
My kids are excited to start at their new school. There will be lots of adjustments in curriculum, friendships and lifestyle, but these skills will give them experience and world view that will serve them well in the future.
3. I wanted to become more available to schools…in Australia
At first this might sound counterintuitive. How can I be more available to schools when I have just left the country?
Last year I traveled to 3 schools a week on average. Even though I was on the road full time and had team of great teachers who were also great at providing professional development, I was still turning down schools that wanted training and help with their technology plans.
So how does moving to New Zealand make me more available?
This year I will be focussing on two new initiatives.
The Digital Leadership For Learning Program. This one year coaching program gives schools access to myself and my team via a mixture of live face to face training as well as video conference. You can read all the details in the link above. If you are outside of Australia and New Zealand and would like to participate, contact us and we will see what we can do.
The second initiative is our unlimited support program. This is an online community where schools can enroll teachers and, if they wish, students, into the community. All my training is available and participants can ask questions, share resources, and collaborate with other teachers locally and around the world.
I’m excited about this change as I will be able to help more schools on a more consistent, long term basis rather than just spending one day with them and then leaving them to figure it out on their own.
I will still travel to schools and speak at conferences, but these two initiatives will enable any school to access myself and my team.
Resources mentioned in today’s blog post:
Now it is your turn. What changes are you making in 2015? Leave your answers in the comment section below.