Sunday, 1 February 2015

Reflecting on a Foods lab

I have really been focussing on improving what I see as being the fourth stage of collaboration: reflection. Wanting to improve my reflection practice and doing the reflection work though are two different things. Fortunately, I have incredible colleagues who read my blog and keep me in check.

At the beginning of January, the Foods teacher at our school used collaboration time to sit down and revamp a Foods lab (and she used the wonderful collaboration space that used to be my office but I much prefer it as the collaboration room - see below. I just love the silver birch wallpaper)

After teaching the revamped lab, the Foods teacher suggested we sit down and reflect on the lab. Finding time was a challenge as it always is for teachers, but even more so for such a specialized teacher. But find time we did and when we sat down to talk, I found that the Foods teacher had really already reflected a lot about the lab. We talked about the one thing that didn't go quite that well, what wonderful things did go well and what the next step was. Overall, I would say the lab was a tremendous success. What I didn't think was successful was my role in reflecting.

I know what we talked about were all the correct items and we did a fine job of reflecting but I came out of that meeting feeling like I did not contribute enough. Maybe contribute is the wrong phrasing. I really did feel like I was out of my comfort zone in talking about a Foods lab which is odd because I think I'm knowledeable enough about the lab topic and am comfortable enough in a kitchen.  But I wonder if it has to do with not having taught a course like Foods that I couldn't see all the pieces clearly. I can't imagine different recipes being used by each and every kitchen. I struggle with understanding how to assess individually and really how to assess at all while a lab is going on. The organized chaos that is the Foods room amazes me and mystifies me at the same time.

Yet, that was only one part of the problem. The other part is time. I think that reflection takes a lot more time than I realized and it is a different type of time that I am used to. In my world, the role of the teacher librarian is very fast paced. I'm constantly on the go and often trying to problem solve on the fly for teachers, students and administrators. I think though reflection needs to be done in a very slow gear, one I haven't had to use in awhile.

It probably sounds very odd that I've been reflecting on this reflection session but I have. A lot. And I'm pretty sure that's a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding? That session was super helpful and we came up with some great next steps! I think I/we reflect all the time. For me, this process was more meaningful as it forced me to write down my reflections as I knew I was sharing them. I don't think you need to be knowledgeable about the topic in your role with me. I am happy to have someone listen and ask questions to deepen my thinking. It is just really about being a great listener and asking the right questions.....I think...anyway....looking forward to meeting again when we can find the time ;) funny - I have been thinking about it a lot, too - so yes - that is awesome!