I have been working with PYP for the last 6 years, as a Home Room teacher and a Grade Level Coordinator. My personal beliefs about education are in close alignment to that of PYP and hence, it is a programme I am best suited for! Thus, when the role of a PYP Coordinator was offered to me, I was delighted. I had to fill in the gaps left by our previous Coordinator, who had a sudden move in her life and had to leave mid year, with the Evaluation 6 months round the corner! Thus, I made a new beginning with many challenges.
Having recently participated in the online Pedagogical Workshop, I set myself an Action Plan to implement as a Grade Coordinator, dying to review and change existing practices in the school and to inspire and train teachers to a greater degree. Thus, the new role empowered me to channelise my enthusiasm and learning from the workshop into practice.
The last 2 weeks as a PYP Coordinator, has been a challenging one! With an impending Evaluation visit in September this year, a lot of documentation had to be reflected upon and updated. One of the first things I did was to critically analyse our POI and tweak fine details to make it as perfect as possible. Sharing my ideas with my Principal and other Grade Coordinators helped me consolidate and apply my understanding of the programme. We also were able to display the new TD theme posters in our school building, which had been ordered by my predecessor! Thus, we even colour coded our POI according to the colours used by IB for the posters! Small details, that an obsessive perfectionist like me, couldn’t overlook!
We also had to get our Self Study going. The INSET at the beginning of the school year saw us successfully complete our ratings for all the standards, again a process my predecessor had ably initiated and implemented. Seeing the team’s sense of ownership of the school, its programme, its curriculum and above all its students, was a satisfactory experience and I felt privileged to be a part of the team and grateful at the opportunity of being in a pedagogical leadership role at the helm of the team! At the same time, we had almost 80% parents submit the Self Study questionnaire and methodically compiled by a parent representative. It was up to us to assess the survey and share its results with all stake holders.
The other challenge that I also foresaw was the profile of our existing team, with an unequal balance of old timers and beginners in the programme. A major task was to bring everybody’s understanding to a certain common level, wherein each member would feel a professional connect with what we were doing and reflecting upon! With the help and support of my Principal, the Grade Coordinators and I began the year on a positive collegial note, sharing good practices. A high point was an hour long session I facilitated on the Inquiry Cycle in a workshop mode. The teachers enthusiastic participation and thereafter, their positive feedback, was extremely gratifying for me professionally and personally. My biggest challenge of being able to connect and build a collaborative rapport, was accomplished opening out a meaningful journey ahead! In tandem, we also began work with the PE teachers to review their practices and content, in alignment with the new PSPE scope and sequence. Again, the response and eagerness in them was behumbling!
A long To Do list awaits me, as I prepare for the visit, but I feel empowered by the strong backing of the management and staff in us sailing through it! We are not perfect and neither is PYP about being perfect. This journey is all about self discovery and new learning. A journey well begun and hopefully which will yield great results! It will be interesting to reflect back after ten months, as we will then anchor our ship at a new port!