Storytelling, Women and Leadership

Shake it off

So here is the thing. Even when I am not actively researching and writing my PhD is playing itself out in other ways in my life. Last school holidays I had the pleasure of watching Sing with my little (and not so little) people. I have been doing the ‘family movie’ thing for close to two decades and after awhile the G rated, play school, Wigglesque moving image loses appeal.

So ….here I was snuggled up on the couch watching Sing. A musical with animated animals. I did not hold my hopes too high. But I confess, I must eat humble pie. Sing pulled at my heart strings, I sang along, I rooted for the performers, the shy young girl and the mother of 25 little ones. Rosita is a pig, a wife and mother. She works relentlessly but secretly harbours a passion for singing and performing. Her husband Norman is the provider and he comes home each day and fails to see ‘her’. Rosita longs to pursue her teenage dream of being a performer and she decides one day that she will enter a singing competition.

It is at this moment that Rosita stumbles across something of her young self, an earlier version of a woman with hopes and dreams. Her musical number in the film is Shake it Off performed by Reese Switherspoon. It was as I watched her singĀ  this song that I realised that whilst Taylor Swift had originally been singing about the men in her life, Rosita was performing about her life as a wife, mother and homemaker. Rosita is time poor, overworked, underpaid and has become silent, a shadow of her former self. But she finds the courage to pursue her passion for singing and to be brave.

These bold words struck me anew.

I stay out (up) too late, got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, that’s what people say
I go on too many dates, but I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say, that’s what people say
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my mind
Saying it’s gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off.
This was the soundtrack for many of the women I had interviewed for my PhD research. Each had a heart for leadership and education but at times they had listened to the notion that they were ‘nothing’. Hearing these women narrate their lives and share tales of determination, to keep moving, striving and stepping out in faith, to take the plunge into leadership when the players and haters were not on their side, was inspirational.
These women were able to shake it off.
The thing is they are gonna shake, shake, shake it off for a long time. The journey into leadership is challenging and for women in education in a rural context there is a whole unique set of challenges. But oh the rewards if you can shake it off.
#womenEd #womenEdAus # ruralED
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Education, Teaching

Clouds Three Ways

img_8520There is not just one way. One way to see, read, view.

One of the goals of teaching and learning is to help each other identify different ways of viewing the world around us, developing our skills of critical thinking and being able to share ideas in a meaningful, clear and relevant way.

As a researcher who has immersed herself in the classroom this semester, I am acutely aware that there is more than one way to see, read and view.

The English classroom is a special place. We discuss big issues, heart issues, personal issues. This term it has been about growing up, racism, discrimination, self discovery.

As the academic year draws to an end and I farewell students I hope they can see things at least three ways. How about you?

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leadership, Rural Women Educators

Inspiring Leaders

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“The increasing complexity of the school principal role, the imminent retirement of many principals across Australia due to an ageing school workforce and the widespread shortage of suitable candidates to replace those about to retire have created an urgent need to increase the pool of high quality candidates who aspire to become school principals.” Watterston (2015)

How do we inspire educators to take the next step and develop leadership capacity? How do we engage and encourage women to lead? How do we support Rural Women in Education to build their leadership skills and be the leaders of theĀ  next generation of learners?

Looking for Inspiration.

Watterston, B 2015, Environmental Scan: Principal Preparation Programs, prepared for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, AITSL, Melbourne

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