Overcoming adversity – a new way to find success

Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.”
— Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)

Adversity by cbucky, on Flickr
This past week was the end of my first quarter ever at the Adult Campus as a vice-principal. This meant a very different role than my past experiences as a classroom teacher when final marks were due and a real sense of wonder in regards to how students were progressing in their classes.
The school itself is a non-traditional facility, focused on 18-22 year old learners, that has two groups of students. The first of the two groups, and the smaller one of the two, are upgraders – these are students who have completed the regular Saskatchewan high school program completing 24 credits, but they need to improve marks in the pursuit of entry into post-secondary programs. The second group are students completing an Adult 12 which is a program that requires students to complete 7 credits at the senior level. The Adult 12 learners are primarily students who have not had success in traditional schools.
As I transitioned to this school I was very interested to see how students who had typically struggled academically would find success. In the eight weeks of this quarter I have seen teachers focused on helping students find success, overcome obstacles, and most importantly – build confidence that they can be successful in school. As a classroom teacher these are things I tried to do for all learners, but as a new administrator I was, and am, excited to see teachers doing this for students who have often faced more than their share of adversity at school.
A great thing about the Adult Campus is that failing marks are not submitted – students continue in classes until they are successful in achieving the credit regardless of the amount of time it takes to finish a class. This can create a lot of work for teachers in record keeping over multiple reporting periods but the culture of the school is founded in student success.
How this looked in practice was obviously new to me – I have seen the success a number of students have achieved this quarter and their pride in doing so and this is certainly one of the reasons I do the job. One of the things that I didn’t see – that is so inspiring was students dejected over the results they achieved as they know that they are going to achieve success – the question is not if but when!
In the last few weeks I have been working pretty diligently on my summary of learning and my digital project. Regardless of how these two projects turn out I am really excited about all of the things I have learned this semester and all of the tools that I have been developing for my future use. The last few blogs I have written I have really found myself reflecting on my own growth over the course of this semester in terms of how I think about school and how that is evolving based on the speakers we have heard and the people in this class.
It seems like my new job and this class have been a great mesh for me to evaluate how we do school and how we can do school!!!
Below is the start of my project that I hope to be able to offer to colleagues on building a PLN…I’m learning a new software called Camtasia – it is very cool but not easy 🙂 – very rough beginnings…what do you think so far?

About mickpanko

New HS vice-principal...trying to figure it all out. I would like to wax poetic but it is more like leg waxing - I think.
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6 Responses to Overcoming adversity – a new way to find success

  1. kreuj says:

    Congratulations on the completion of your first quarter in the new role. Sounds like you really have the right heart for that setting, Mike.

    Thanks for sharing your work. It has encouraged me to plow on with my Voicethread. I am struggling with attributing images in Voicethread and you can’t seem to load anything from html, only url which rules out flickr or compfight, doesn’t it. Currently I have several google images in there and I understand its not a good idea to use google so I’m hoping I’ve got time to sub them out. How are you doing attribution?

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you say we’re learning by doing this stuff. Experiential, context-based, connected learning. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a course.

    • mickpanko says:

      I am unsure how I am doing attributions at this point – I still need to figure that out! I have thoroughly enjoyed this class too and find that I am learning none stop – what a way to get of my personal comfort zone.

  2. Your camtasia video looks great! I like the use of images, music, and your own voice. Awesome job 🙂

  3. lmorhart says:

    Looks good so far! I am feeling even more overwhelmed after watching your video! Thanks! LOL

    • mickpanko says:

      Thanks – I think – owning our learning is hard and it won’t look the same for anyone so do your thing – I am certain it will be awesome…you are so creative!

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