Paint what done looks like for me.

I’ve been reading Brene Browns ‘Dare to Lead’ for a good part of this year, why has it taken me so long? A couple of things, life as a teacher is hectic isn’t it? And in the struggle for wellbeing, in my world at least, reading is one of those things that gets dropped off the priority list. The main reason really is though, is that I’m completing the work along book that goes with it. Brene’s words linger, and the work along book has encouraged me to take time to sit with those words, to reflect and unpack what they mean for me as a leader. Part way through my first year as a Syndicate Leader there a few gems that continue to resonate. One being Brene’s section around “Paint what done looks like.”

If you were to ask a colleague to complete a task for you, or to undertake a project within your school or corporation, how do you ensure you are both on the same page about the expectation, and what it might look like when it’s done? Ask, tell, clarify understanding…easy right? But more often than not we don’t do we? We’re set to task and it’s up to our interpretation of what that ‘done’ might mean or look like.

I now find myself thinking, am I painting what ‘done looks like’ for my team? Are my expectations clear? Do I clarify with them? Are we on the same page? To be clear is to be kind. It’s a work in progress and one I hope that I can model to my team and they pick up on and use too.

The other gem that continues to pop into my thoughts frequently is Brene’s daughters marble jar. Trust is pretty big in teams. And I want my team to trust me in any given situation, even when the road might seem rocky, that they know I genuinely have our learners and their wellbeing at front and centre. So I’m keen to hear how your foster trust within your team?

Teach on Fire!

At this time of year, when you’re tired, the kids are tired and everything can seem a little hard, it’s fitting to fill some free time with a little professional reading, listening or watching. This week I chose Hamish Brewer’s TEDxChristchurch Talk. What a timely message to remind us why we do what we do and to not let the little things get on top of us. Two weeks out from the end of  my year is definitely a good a time as any to be the best for my students and to ‘teach on fire.’ They deserve it. They need love.

Sketchnote for Hamish Brewer – TEDxChristchurch

imageHamish Brewer - TED2

Peer Mediator Training

Last week at Staff Meeting we heard from The Peace Foundation, our school has been a Peer Mediator school for a long time. But this is the first time I have had the opportunity to learn about how the process works. It’s great to now have an understanding of their role in our playground but also I find helps with the conversation I have myself during duty.

Check out my sketch note from the meeting. (click to enlarge)

Build useless machines, it’ll be worth it.

Simone Giertz builds useless machines for a job, and cruises around talking about them. I know, talk about the perfect job. But as she says, “if you want to be the top of your field, make sure you’re the only one in it.” You can check out all the crazy things she builds here on her Youtube Channel. As a Technology Teacher of a subject where students come along and make things to take home to their ever so excited parents we often question what it is they take home. Will the parents see the value in it? Will they understand the process the student took to get there or why? Is it ‘GOOD’ enough in the parents eyes? At our school, long gone are the days where twenty students sit down and churn out the same pencil case on their sewing machine, over prescribed by the teacher, no student choice and definitely no creativity allowed out side the box my control freak sewing teacher crammed us into when I was young.


(Original Sketch notes available for purchase and digital display, please make contact.)

As Simone’s TED Talk progresses I find myself at ease with those questions we ask about our student output. We take off the pressure, our students design what they want, how they want. To solve a need around a problem that is genuine to them, that happens in their world. Thirty something Simone’s in one class, taught by two teachers is somewhat chaotic. But it’s a chaos we’ve created, and I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I look forward to the day I get an email from a parent asking “what the hell is this?” Because I know we could confidently reply with the reason behind the object. It’s a known fact brain capacity grows through play. So go on, invent something, have a play.


dylanmarron #TED2018 ‘How I turn negative online comments into positive offline conversations.’

@dylanmarron #TED2018 ‘How I turn negative online comments into positive offline conversations.’ Hate is everywhere, come up with a coping mechanism. Engage in empathy, not to agree, but to find common ground. To put yourself in the context of others. There, you will find the ability to speak with others, not at them.

Dylan Marron Pg1Dylan Marron Pg1

Please contact me if you would like to share these images outside of anything I have tagged you in.


#energiseNZ2018 Day Two – Step outside the box! (and then fold it up nicely and recycle it – please and thank you)

If I value anything about Professional Development its’ the ability to step outside what you do and take a look at where you’re at. Energise is the perfect place to do that. It’s so easy to sit inside your bubble and believe that what you do is amazing, that you’re sorted and you have the answer. Now don’t get me wrong, teachers are amazing people and (mostly) what they do on a daily is super amazing too. But we’re doing a massive discredit to our students if we don’t step outside and reflect about what’s really going on. I’m a growth mindset kind of type, you know that annoying person that no matter how well things are going I’m always looking to improve just a little bit more the next time around. You know the saying, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Tony Robbins, Henry Ford, Einstein or the various other people this quote is credited to.

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On Day Two I found myself taking a serious look at where we are. In particular with the Digital Technologies Curriculum released this year. It’s time to get out of the silo and think bigger picture. Hangaru Matihiku needs to be about everyone, all levels, all teachers, infact Hangaru in general needs to be about everyone, all levels, all teachers. And we need to be more aware of our client school happenings. A curriculum to unpack. A staff to bring on board. Work to be done. Period.

I hope they’re coming with me?

Below you’ll find my sketch notes from Day Two, including the Keynote from the fabulous Sylvia Duckworth. I’m her latest fangirl groupie.



#energiseNZ2018 Day One – A revelation.

I’ve written this blog post at least four times now. And each time I couldn’t quite get it sorted. I needed to solidify my ideas a little. But after spending time with Sylvia Duckworth at #energiseNZ2018 I have found a way that works for me! Where was this lady and her sketch noting when I was struggling through Art History classes at Uni? I’m adamant it would have made my life much easier, and probably my grades substantially better too. As Graham Shaw states in his TEDxHull presentation “drawing helps you commit information to memory, make moments memorable or to create metaphors.” That would have been super helpful during those slide show exams eh. I relished the opportunity to sit with 20 odd other teachers and absorb Sylvias wisdom.

So here it is, Day One of EnergiseNZ2018 in sketch note form.

IMG-2757IMG-2761Working with the Education Changemakers for an entire day is a massive privilege and the only thing I was left wanting was a few of my colleagues to be parked up beside me! I’d heard Louka and Dave’s keynote at EnergiseNZ2017 and as soon I saw their names I was in. It wouldn’t matter what these guys were selling I’d be buying it. 2017’s keynote was amazing, inspiring and one of those moments you cherish as a teacher, as all the grind stuff leaves your mind. The hours, the crap pay, the hard days, all disappear and you’re only left with inspirational warm fuzzies that remind you of why you got into this in the first place. Because it’s your passion, because you want to make a difference. As leaders we have the ability to action change in our schools, action that will benefit our students. During the Leadership Day Educhangemakers weaved us through a journey of Design Thinking to action change in our schools, the sparks were flying. 2017 energise felt like an intellectual sponge, with us soaking as much as we could before departing and having to sort through the files created in our mind, very quickly 2018 took on a feel of being a hands on experience. Real things, things we could take back and use straight away, without too much mental sorting to take place before being able to do so. Neither of those outcomes are better or worse than the last, but I guess as an only delegate from my school, things I could implement straight away are easier to share than things I need to unpack and process a whole lot first. Look out colleagues, I’m about to unleash some Design Thinking on you!

Now to sit down and sketch note Day Two.


Have you watched the Vodafone Warriors lately?

As the wife of an avid, till the death, Vodafone Warriors supporter, I have heard for as long as I have known my husband, that phrase “this year will be their year.” As he sits beside me with 22 minutes left of game five, on the edge of his seat, holding out for the elusive, never seen before, ever, five wins from five. I asked him – What are they doing differently this year? His reply, “they’ve just got it together……..finally!” oh and “you know this year, is gonna be their year.”

I asked him about the huddle, and what that meant for them. Mindfulness, those are the words he was looking for, but he didn’t know it. Take a look next time, they huddle, they stop and they breathe. They’re grounding themselves, remembering why they’re there, and what they’re tasked to do. Instead of getting lost in the glory of the try, the celebration with the boys, losing focus of the task that is still in front of them.

John Quinn spoke at #PENZ18 about ‘being mindful in the storm.’ Striving in the storm when things get rough, and coming out the other side in tact.


He asked us to think about our classrooms, children turn up and we ask them to focus, John asked us to be mindful for one minute, to close our eyes, and to notice our breath. It was hard, and yet we expected that focus from our students every day. “You love your subject, it doesn’t mean they love it as much, think about that for a minute” as John brings us back to the room. I’m sure everyone in that auditorium thought of those students that you just can’t engage, they don’t buy into what you’re putting down. Because they don’t see themselves in it. I get pumped about Design and 3D printing, it doesn’t mean everyone else does too. What if it’s because 3D concepts are a struggle for them? What if they see no worth in that learning for their own lives? What if there is too much ‘noise’ already going on in their head when I’m trying to talk about CAD and all it’s intricacies?

Mindfullness – The basic human ability to be fully present in any moment. What does that mean for our classrooms, or our staff rooms for that matter? What’s on top for my students today, this week or this year in life outside the classroom and how can I help them navigate the storm?

Lots to ponder and a few places to start. Mindfulness helps us view the world through a different perspective and empowers us with freedom of choice. As Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Oh and by the way, “you little beauty, 10 point win!” Who would have thought?