Monthly Archives: October 2015

Learning the Science (Art?) of Navigation


As a primary school teacher, we were trained and lectured on how to create procedures in the classroom. Procedures are key to everything…. literally, everything. (Unless you want to spend everyday crying as chaos and six year olds reign your classroom.) As a student in uni, you’re sort of listening to this advice but then you get into your own classroom – your first teaching gig and you may or may not follow advice.

I did, thankfully. Sometimes I get irritated by my own procedures, even though they are there to make my life go smoothly and help me not to go insane each day. I involve my students in the making of some of my procedures, so there’s a little bit of buy-in. I figure it’s only fair since I am the person with the majority of the control over what procedures I want and how I want to do them.

One ‘do not go crazy’ procedure I have is coloured hands. These different coloured laminated hands come in three colours that correspond to items they can freely use in the room (green for rulers, markers, crayons, pencils, erasers, exercise books, etc and yellow for things like my Uno cards and the iPad, red for things like my metal pencil sharpener!) You may have guessed that green is free, yellow is ask, and red is don’t touch. Anything not labelled is an automatic yellow.

That’s just ONE procedure in my classroom. I can’t even count how many we have. Procedures help us to know what to do, what direction to head and how we can be effective in our work. But sometimes, there’s no procedure. Then we need to think and be critical and try to apply our prior knowledge in order to navigate the correct course of action.

I’m jumping off the deep end and trying to figure out how to navigate the procedures for the programme I want to apply for to do my doctorate. Why do I want a doctorate? Do I want a doctorate? I spend roughly 40% of my work day with students who are struggling or need someone to talk to or work out an issue with. It might be an academic, social or emotional issue. It is something that I feel like I would really like to do full-time with still maintaining my ties to education. It might seem a little silly that a primary school teacher would want to pursue psychology but it isn’t too far off the mark. I was enrolled in a Community Counseling M.Ed programme before I left for China the second time. It just never occurred to me that I could go back and complete a similar course. Time passed, much quicker than I realised, and I got an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction instead.

But now, it’s time for me to actually begin the process of applying for the DEdPsy programme I would like to apply for. Even if there’s no procedure for helping me not freak out over the fact that there are 12 open spaces each year…. 12… only 12…. !

I have to navigate past that initial knowledge before I even begin to have anxiety attacks over the paperwork to apply!


Here’s wishing me luck!