As we were heading towards the end of Term 3 Sonya (@ ) asked me to be a part of the, then upcoming, #TeachMeetNZ. I had heard about #TeachMeetNZ although I had not been involved in one previously. But this is my self-appointed year of learning new things and consciously challenging myself- so I said yes.
I was grateful that Sonya had a specific topic she wanted me to present on. With my battle with indecision avoided, I began planning. 'WeChat and its use in connecting and engaging community', was the topic and I was/am passionate about it.
WeChat really has changed the way I have done things. My context: I work in a central Auckland primary school with a large number of ESL kids. Our parents are amazingly supportive, yet so busy, with work and/or study. WeChat is a messaging App which allows me to have conversations and send photos to individuals, small groups and whole class. This has saved me time in organising meetings, giving feedback, getting parent help and countless other class admin jobs. But my favourite thing about it has been the motivation it has provided in allowing my students to share their learning with family at home and their work at home with me! I am being sent pictures of pages and pages of writing that my "reluctant" writers are keen to share with me!
Returning to my reflection about the actual presentation processes (but I have attached my slides on WeChat if you are keen to see).
All credit for success really should go to Sonya (@ ) as she patiently answered all questions, held practice sessions and worked through the practicalities of a Google hangout.
Personally, I spent several hours preparing my presentation. Again my weakness towards 'fluffiness' with words appeared as I received feedback from my co-presenters to include less text/more images on my slides. I struggled a little with this as I have noticed I don't have many pictures (a next step for me), so screenshots from WeChat had to suffice.
I really enjoyed the practice session and felt like I presented better than I expected. I was pleased with the feedback and I enjoyed being given constructive and clear ways to move forward.
Then Saturday arrived. I was nervous but felt prepared. If I'm honest I was more concerned about the unpredictability of the technology side (inc wifi). So I (lovingly) sent my husband out, saying he couldn't drain the connection! And got ready; box for the computer, headphones, curtains closed, lights and lipstick on - I was ready to go!
I was very honoured to be asked by Sonya to do the opening Karakia a first for #TeachMeetNZ. And then I got to sit back and watch the two presenters before me (both great! - I've provided the link for TeachMeetNZ Presentations).
Then it was my turn. If I'm honest what I said is mostly a blur. I was considering looking at the camera at the right point, sitting back in my chair, sharing my screen and then speaking slowly enough so my words didn't jumble, oh and the ever progressing timer!
As with all learning journeys there were several cringe worthy moments where I got tongue tied including me forgetting a word and randomly selecting 'superb' and possibly using 'negated' in the wrong way!?
But the feedback from other’s has suggested they perceived my passion and were interested in investigating WeChat further (so Objective=ACHIEVED).
In conclusion, it was a challenge for me to put myself 'out there' in this new way but I'm pleased I did. I learnt a lot about my next steps, shared something that I think will really help others, and met a whole new group of passionate and creative educators- it was a win-win situation!