Getting Past No
Fighting the naysayers, folks who want to ‘do school’ the way we’ve always done it, gets tiring. But sometimes being told “no” is all it takes to get us on the right track.
For Jenny Luca, Head of Information Services at Toorak College near Victoria, Australia, that negative moment changed her world.
“I was exploring all this stuff,” she said recently in a Skype call. Teaching, she said, was getting stale. “I thought there had to be more.”
Seeing the Goal in Action
A presentation by Will Richardson and a conversation with John Connell opened her eyes to possibilities. She began working with web 2.0 tools, changing her approach in class, and hearing the name Powerful Learning Practice bandied about in chat rooms.
“Bizarrely, I was listening to a podcast by Jeff Utecht one day, typing in the chat room with this person about developing community in school,” Jenny said. “And she said, ‘sounds like a PLP cohort’. It was Sheryl!”
That conversation led to a discussion with her administrator, who told her trying to build a cohort there would be difficult–that she wouldn’t be able to do it.
“That’s all it took,” she said, laughing that famous Jenny laugh. “It was like, ‘let me show you!’ ”
The cohort she built combined with the Independent cohort forming in the United States and became the 2008-2009 International Cohort, a power house of people who’ve made a name for themselves online and in our communities.
Since then, Jenny has become a world traveler, presenting at ISTE and MICDS Summer Institute in St. Louis. We also caught up with her in Philly at Educon after she’d spent a week connecting with old friends from the cohort in New York.
Life After PLP
Jenny’s work in PLP did make a difference in her school, and an even bigger difference for her.
“I see projects happening today that are a result of that cohort,” she said. “I love the connections that were formed in that space. I felt like I found like-minded people there- both here and in your country as well.”
And, she said, it’s had a long lasting implications.
Jenny recently won the John Ward award for outstanding teacher librarian, which gave a monetary prize that enabled her to travel to various conferences, where she often presents. The award was a testament to her work, which she shares freely and often.
Her attitude is simple: “You’ve already done the learning, now you are to share your learning wherever you can.”
“It floored me!” she said. “But really nice…a peer award for people who grow networks and who help build community. Through PLP and all I do, it’s about building community.”
Jenny’s clear message, whether through presentations or her blog, helps us all grow and learn. This fall she will keynote with Jeff Utecht at the AISITIC conference. We’re so proud to have one of our own keynoting. Check out more about Jenny on her bio site.
Regardless of where Jenny speaks, people listen because of her willingness to share and connect.
“There are new rules for engagement and sharing that teachers and students can learn now,” said Jenny. “The game has changed, and we need to be the coaches.”