Trials & Triumphs of Internship!


So, here I am, all 28 core units successfully completed and only weeks away from internship, pinching myself that I actually made it! When I first began this journey just over 4 years ago, internship seemed unreachable at times….as each unit rolled into the next, without a break…and my life and years were measured in brightly colour-coded 13-week blocks. As I reflect upon this journey I have certainly come a long way from my very first unit (EDP140), where I felt, at 43 years of age, out of my academic depth in referencing requirements, thesis statements, and word limits. However, whilst struggling to juggle full-time work, family commitments and 21st-century study needs, I somehow managed to pass the overall unit and came out with a whole new perspective on learning. If I was to survive this epic journey, I needed a new mindset. I needed to study smarter, not harder, and turn roadblocks into challenges and mistakes into deeper learning. With this in mind, I set new goals, devised a new study plan, became a referencing guru, and read everything I could about the pros and pitfalls of academic writing. I took on feedback from every tutor, reflecting on and implementing change, and challenged myself to make professional progress….and here I am, 4 years and 28 units later, with 17 overall unit High Distinctions, 8 overall unit Distinctions, 2 overall unit Credits, and that one life-changing overall unit Pass.

For me, I see my upcoming internship as an adventure – mentored by a seasoned professional, guiding me to find and implement my strengths and teaching pedagogy, whilst building upon existing classroom routines and behaviour management. I am so very fortunate to be teaching in a school whose core value of committing to excellence and the development of principled, compassionate lifelong learners resonates with my own teaching values of creating an environment where all children flourish. However, it’s hard to describe the rollercoaster of feelings I have so close to internship. Maybe it is best described as…excited for the opportunity to learn and progress forward in my profession….scared of the unknown….and thrilled at the thought of future opportunities. Whilst I try to gain control of my feelings and emotions, it is very clear that I must approach not just my internship, but my teaching profession, with a growth mindset and model this behaviour with my students! As the saying goes…”Monkey see, monkey do!”

#Internship  #DegreeComeAtMe  #GrowthMindset  #Reflect  #Collaborate  #LifeLongLearners

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 6.35.59 pm


When you’re so tired…that even your tired is tired!

So, SP3 was an incredibly massive workload! Not only was I working during the day in a very busy Grade 1/2 classroom, whilst completing 2 theory units at night, I also squeezed in a 2-week overseas holiday to Japan & Hong Kong….without missing a beat! Whilst I am mentally exhausted, I am pretty happy with my overall results and what I was able to achieve over this 12-week study period. In 12-weeks I wrote 8 major journals on “Human Health & Development”, smashed out 2 tests, and completed 3 massive 4th-year assignments….each one scoring me a High Distinction for my efforts. That means in 12-weeks I completed 13 academic tasks…and scored 13 High Distinctions…!!

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.23.00 pm

Dear Parents, Please Stop Asking If I’m Challenging Your Child…

This article was submitted to “WeAreTeachers” by a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous…

Dear Parents of Elementary School Children,

With the first round of parent-teacher conferences among us, I often get asked the exact same question by every parent that enters my second-grade classroom…..

“Is my child being challenged enough?”

I am begging you…. Please stop.

Don’t get me wrong… I completely understand that you only want the very best education for your child, but to any skilled teacher, the answer to that question is quite simple.

Yes, your child is being challenged enough.

As a teacher, I am incredibly skilled at creating lessons and activities that challenge your child without them even realizing it.

Here are some of the things I do for your child on a daily basis:

  • Take a difficult task and make it seem fun and exciting for my students.
  • Encourage them to read a more difficult text without making them feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the end.
  • Challenge them to think more deeply about the characters and the problems in the story than they ever thought possible.
  • Give them a math problem and challenge them to find a way to solve it by using all of the strategies that they know.
  • Offer them opportunities to teach each other how to use those same strategies.
  • Teach them to research and write about a topic that they love, therefore they don’t even recognize it as “work”.

Throughout all of this, I am not only teaching them the skills they need to be successful in second grade, but I am also teaching them the skills they need to be ready for third grade. You may think I am only teaching your child things like reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

But I am also teaching him to truly love learning.

Your child is only 7.

He has plenty of time to find a passion and a strength and decide what he wants to do for the rest of his life. She has plenty of time to find an intrinsic motivation and desire to learn more about a certain subject area, in which case she will most likely find ways to challenge herself. All of this will happen because I am really good at doing my job.

If you ask these questions, I guarantee that you will discover new things about your child and find more ways to support their learning. So please, stop asking if we are doing our job. Trust your child’s teacher. Support them in their efforts of helping your child grow and develop into becoming the very best possible version of themselves.

So, if you are looking for a list of questions to ask teachers that will actually benefit your child’s future and their learning at school, here is just a short list of suggestions for you:

  • Is my child kind?
  • Does my child try his/her best?
  • Does my child enjoy learning?
  • Is my child happy?
  • Does my child persevere through difficult tasks?
  • Does my child have friends?
  • Is my child compassionate toward others?
  • Does my child have something that he/she excels at?
  • Does my child follow directions?
  • Is my child responsible?
  • Does my child smile and laugh?
  • Does my child have a growth mindset?
  • Is my child curious?
  • What does my child love to read?
  • Does my child pay attention?
  • Is my child respectful toward their teachers and their peers?
  • Does my child show creativity in the classroom?
  • Does my child like learning?

If you ask these questions, I guarantee that you will discover new things about your child and find more ways to support their learning. So please, stop asking if we are doing our job. Trust your child’s teacher, and support them in their efforts of helping your child grow and develop into becoming the very best possible version of themselves.


Second Grade Teacher

We Are Teachers:


Them Feels…..

When you receive feedback like this on a major “Action Research” educational assignment… just puts a little extra spring in your step!
#3UnitsToGo  #DegreeComeAtMe

……”Sharryn, you have a strong introduction and focus on the plans’ key research question; terms are well defined. There is a clear sense of direction and the literature review is well organised, succinct and relevant to the topic. You delineate subtopics to be reviewed and provide a well organised and knowledgeable outline of methodology including Action Research, data collection and analysis. All material in your plan is clearly related to the research question. There is evidence of strong organization and integration of material within each of the subtopics and headings. You are able to demonstrate strong transitions linking ideas, and main topic. Your understanding of ethics and ethical protocols and concerns is communicated clearly and effectively.
Your focus on the research is supported by the structure and the paper contains a “roadmap” for the reader through a logical flow to the topics/arguments underpinning the research question.
Your conclusion follows clearly and logically from the arguments presented. Action is well described, substantial and achievable in the timeframe provided. Your timeline is clear, easy to understand and complete. Your language and style is appropriate for your intended audience and writing protocols are academically sound, with referencing accurately presented
Overall your plan presents evidence of thoughtful well-developed analysis and synthesis with nuance, inference and subtlety, making your plan memorable as well as engaging reader interest and providing a plan that is both useful and theoretically sound.
A really outstanding effort Sharryn congratulations”
Dr Robert Dixon

Learning is not about covering the curriculum….

Are you a good teacher? Do you know your subject well, prepare lessons thoroughly and cover the curriculum efficiently? Do your students respect you? Is your classroom management effective? Are you organised and reflective?

Here’s the thing… It’s not about YOU.

Everything changes when you start with the child.

Starting with the child means building relationships and connecting personally with every learner. It means hearing his voice, knowing his story, caring about what matters to him and understanding how best he might learn.

Starting with the child means having a strong image of the child as creative, competent and capable of controlling her own learning. It means letting go, trusting the process and having faith in her capacity to lead her learning.

Starting with the child means understanding that the language you use has the power to affect his self-image. It means using words purposefully to build self-esteem, confidence and ownership, to support him in seeing himself as an empowered writer or mathematician, learner and human being.

Starting with the child means creating a sense of calm, a mindful context within which she can flourish and her learning can thrive. It means promoting positive emotions, providing opportunities for engagement in purposeful learning and helping her to achieve her dreams.


……”Schooling is currently organised the wrong way around. The curriculum becomes the structure for the learning and is delivered via a timetable. Yet we know that every child is different so there cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to schooling. Learning and teaching should be designed around each child’s learning strengths and needs. In this way, the curriculum is the reference point, not the blueprint”.

~Greg Whitby

Reference: What Ed Said

Are you ready to innovate?

Dear educational self,

You don’t have to be an IB educator to embrace the universal attributes of the IB Learner Profile...

1. Are you a thinker?

Do you think critically about everything that happens in your classroom, your team, your educational institution? Have you thought about the ways the world has changed and whether your school reflects this? Are you thinking, right now, about why innovation is critical in education?

2. Are you open-minded?

Are you open to new ideas and different ways of doing things? Do you seek and evaluate different perspectives and grow from the experience? Are you rattled by change agents or do you seek them out?

3. Are you knowledgeable?

Do you constantly explore and question educational concepts, ideas and issues? Are you keeping abreast of new ideas and approaches to learning? Do you make it your business to learn from the people you lead?

4. Are you reflective?

Do you constantly reflect on your own practice? Do you thoughtfully consider and evaluate every aspect of life and learning in your school? Do you invite your team to reflect collaboratively with you? Are you willing to take action as a result of your reflection?

5. Are you an inquirer?

Are you curious about new possibilities and other ways of doing things? Are you constantly researching, exploring, discovering and encouraging your teachers and students to do the same? Are you willing to take an inquiry stance and see how things unfold?

6. Are you principled?

Do you have strong beliefs about how learning takes place and what education should look like today?  Do you consider the alignment of practice with beliefs? Do you stand by your principles and fight for the change you believe in? Are you honest with yourself and others about why you might prefer to maintain the status quo?

7. Are you a communicator?

Do you communicate effectively with your entire learning community? Are you aware of the unintentional messages you deliver?  Do you invite dialogue and discourse? Do you listen more than you talk?

8. Are you a risk taker?

Are you willing to experiment even if the outcome isn’t clear? Are you willing to explore emerging practice, rather than find solutions in the known? Are you comfortable in the zone of confusion?

9. Are you caring?

Do you work at making a positive difference to the lives of others in your learning community and beyond? Do you have the capacity to place yourself in the positions of others and understand their feelings? Do you go out of your way to be kind and supportive towards others and encourage them to grow?

10. Are you balanced?

Do you understand the value of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve well-being for yourself, your teachers and your students? Do you embrace the necessary changes to achieve this?

‘Why is innovation critical in education?‘ George Couros asks us to consider in Episode 1 of the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC. Just observe the changing world around you and you’ll have your answer. I’ve chosen, instead, to ask the above questions of educational leaders everywhere. And this one…

Are you ready to innovate?


Reference: International Baccalaureate Learner Profile. 

Things That Principals Know About Great Teachers:

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 6.18.07 pm

(Danny Steele, 2017)
I have had the privilege of working with many great teachers.  These are some things that are true about them:

Great teachers don’t always have the best lessons.  But they always have the best relationships with kids.

Great teachers understand that developing the right classroom climate is a prerequisite to teaching the right lesson.

When a lesson does not go as planned, great teachers are not looking around the room… they are looking in the mirror.

Great teachers always come to class ready to teach… but they are mindful of the fact that not all students come to class ready to learn.

Great teachers understand the power of human connection, so they are diligent about building relationships with their students.  They are even relentless about connecting with the knuckleheads.

Great teachers don’t show up for WORK… they show up for KIDS!  It’s a passion — not a job.

Great teachers understand the “Golden Rule” for educators: Teach every child the way you would want your own child to be taught.

Great teachers are not intent on winning “battles” with the students.  They understand that if there is a battle in the classroom, nobody wins.

Great teachers define their success by the success of their students.  They understand it’s not about the teaching… it’s about the learning.

Great teachers are not defined by their lesson plans… they are defined by their passion.

Great teachers are in it for the kids.  It’s not about the lesson plan, the rules, or the massive paycheck. It’s always about the kids.

Great teachers will spend some time this summer thinking about how they can improve their lessons next year.  That’s just what they do.

Kids leave their class feeling better about themselves… because great teachers understand there is more to teaching than delivering instruction.

Great teachers are never victims of “slacker kids.” They refuse to let those students get away without doing the work.

Great teachers are not driven by courses of study… they are driven by the faces in front of them.

Great teachers can look past the bad attitude.  They realize there’s always something else going on.

Great teachers did not become great by accident.  They became great because they made a decision that being “good” was not enough.

All teachers have bad days.  Great teachers never lose perspective, and they refuse to let their personal drama undermine the positive energy in the classroom.

Great teachers are always in pursuit of a better lesson.  They demand the same excellence of themselves that they work for in their kids.

Our world is a better place because of the passion and dedication of great teachers everywhere.  They inspire me daily.