Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Christchurch Teachers Rock! ~Welcome to Connected Educators Month

You know you’re a teacher from Christchurch when…………….

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~your students drop the words “munted” “liquefaction” and “base isolators” into their everyday conversations or moderated writing without so much as a blink. And they spell it perfectly! R6 for vocab anyone?

~when a strong gust of wind, big truck or hailstorm sends your class diving under their desks rather than to the window for a look.   

~you have organised at least three different exit strategies for your class on a field trip within two minutes of being there.

There’s no denying that being a teacher in Canterbury has had more than its fair share of challenges over the past four years. We’ve had to put on our “game face” numerous times and deal with challenges that our training as educators couldn’t possibly have prepared us for. It has been hard and it has been exhausting and we all know the tough times aren’t over yet for many of Christchurch’s most vulnerable children. But we continue to fight the good fight for our learners because that’s what teachers do. We know that it is more important than ever to provide a safe and positive haven for our students; a place where, despite the stress our learners may face at home, they have the tools and the support they need in their classrooms to be the best that they can be.  

Phew! When many of us are fighting our own earthquake battles on the home front, that’s a lot of pressure! That’s why it is so important for us as teachers to lean on others and be connected; to form our own network of like minded educators to support and encourage us and keep us energised and passionate.

What does it mean to be a Connected Educator?

Well, it is pretty self-explanatory really. It means rather than boxing on as the proverbial “lone wolf” you find your wolf-pack. You connect with like-minds, taking advantage of the amazing opportunities to connect with educators and experts at anytime that works for you, both nearby and far, far away.

What is Connected Educator Month?

Connected Educator Month (or CEM14) is a month long series of amazing professional development opportunities for us to get involved in and for many of them you never even have to leave your home! Connected Educator Month started two years ago in the US and this year, New Zealand is taking part with its own calendar, jam-packed with rich learning opportunities. You can read more about Connected Educator Month here and see the calendar of events offered by New Zealand organisations here.

What is the Christchurch Connected Educators offering for Connected Educator Month?

  1. The Christchurch Educators’ Network will have 31 guest blog posts from educators in schools from the Canterbury Region. These posts will celebrate the amazing things happening in Canterbury schools and are sure to inspire and affirm us.

Here’s the link for the blog; make sure you bookmark, subscribe, add the blog to your feedly….whatever it is that helps you remember to check it!

  1. Face to Face Gathering

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On Thursday 23 October at Fendalton School in Clyde Road, we’re having a gathering for Christchurch Educators, a chance to connect face to face. We’ll be sharing drinks and nibbles from 7pm before hearing from a fantastic guest speaker, Matt McGregor about Creative Commons and how this impacts on us as educators. This is a really important issue and one that is going to have a greater and greater impact on us all. So come along; we’d love to see you there!

I’m new to this! What are some ways I can connect?

Here are three of my favourite tools for connecting with other educators.

  1. Twitter:

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Joining Twitter in 2011 (remember that year friends?) has been the most transformative thing I have done in my teaching career. It has given me access to some of the most inspirational educators in the world. There are so many reasons why I love Twitter but this post is already long enough so I’ll save them for another day. No, I’m not interested in Kim Kardashian’s lunch either but I do need some inspiration for teaching transformations or a great book for one of my learners to sink her teeth into. Check it out; lurking is fine, I promise you’ll never look back. Make sure you type this into the search bar to keep in touch with other Christchurch educators: #chched

  1. Blogger:

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Creating a class blog has meant that my students are connected globally and can learn from others they would never previously have had access to. We’ve made friends from Hamilton to Hong Kong and beyond. We’ve skyped classes in Canada to interview them about paleontology and of course we’ve been skyped frequently about how to survive a natural disaster. The connections that form are rich and powerful. There are other great blogging tools such as Wordpress and Kidblog but I am a fan of Blogger for its seamless integration with Google Apps and its simplicity. If you’ve ever considered creating a class blog, I wholeheartedly recommend it and if I haven’t convinced you, explore this site.

  1. Feedly:

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This is a fantastic tool for collecting blogs that inspire you so that they are all in one place for easy reading.  Got a spare five minutes? Open your Feedly and read a blogpost or two. I encourage you to leave a comment for the author too; commenting on blogs is a great way to connect with other educators.

So, I hope I have inspired you to either continue or take the first steps in your connected educator’s journey. We look forward to connecting with you over the next 31 days. We hope you’ll feel affirmed and encouraged by the great things happening in Christchurch schools.


  1. Whoop whoop! Love this blog and looking forward to following during #cenz #cenz14. Tau kē Canterbury teachers!

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes we are all excited. Can't wait to hear from all those awesome Canterbury teachers.

  2. Great start to 31 days of blogging. I'm working on mine now.

    1. best you get working on it mate ;-)

    2. Fantastic! Looking forward to reading it.

  3. 31 days of celebrating education in Canterbury, fantastic! I can't wait to read more.

  4. Brilliant introductory post. Just heading to set up Feedly! Thank you.

    1. That's great, Jo. I really recommend it.