This article showcases the cognition process of a Primary Years Programme (PYP) coordinator. The author shares how to interact with fellow schools in a local network to experience a platform of fraternity and connectedness.
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
This quote symbolizes my thoughts after being appointed as a PYP coordinator. I eagerly awaited the PYP network meeting to know more about fellow coordinators, their ideas, challenges and how they overcome their difficulties.
As we are a candidate school in Tamilnadu, India, we are part of the South Indian and Srilankan PYP Network. I was the only candidate who crossed 318 km to meet the other pedagogical leaders who were from same city in India. My excitement level was high and by just seeing the venue and participants all the tiredness of long journey faded away.
The meeting started with a Skype session with a member of the IB Asia-Pacific regional team. She greeted us with her inspiring ideas and gave us a golden rule—building trust to make this network more successful and constructive.
Next, we co-constructed essential agreements for network meetings. We agreed upon the following agreements: collaborative approach, accessibility, sharing of resources, and transparency of thought and ideas.
In order to bring our essential agreements to action, we created a WhatsApp group to include all of the network members. The purpose of this WhatsApp group was for easy accessibility and collaboration. We would share articles related to pedagogical leadership and resources to promote PYP practices.
During the day, we shared our ups and downs as coordinators, and discussed our expectations from the coming programme enhancements. We feel that the role of coordinator enables us to be a community for creative exploration, out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving. We experience individualism and self-discovery, the respect of all cultures, and the betterment of the school and local community.
We zeroed in on one thing while discussing our challenges: supporting teachers new to our schools. We also discussed ideas to create better induction programs throughout the year to support a new PYP coordinator. One coordinator suggested creating a buddy system in which an experienced IB coordinator would help a new coordinator to grasp IB philosophy and inquiry-based differentiated approaches for learning and teaching.
The most important thing I learned from my fellow coordinators is time management as most teachers find it difficult to balance their time when it comes to documentation, and their learning and teaching plans go astray. We brainstormed solutions like having a teacher folder with a weekly/monthly task sheet, an IB planner that can be converted into weeks, and having a resource pool to share among the PYP community.
The network meeting was a new learning experience for me and my take away was how to promote good planning strategies among my PYP teaching teams. Back at my school, I supported my teachers with suggestions for better planning and collaboration. Because of this quote: “Failing to plan is planning to fail” (Alan Lakein) we developed essential agreements for these two areas.
Being new to the position of a PYP coordinator, I would like to polish my team building skills to make my school a community of proactive collaborators with a strong sense of shared responsibility.
Asnaha Farheen is a former PYP grade 5 homeroom teacher and currently a PYP coordinator at SRV International School (an IB PYP candidate school) in India. Asnaha has 8 years of IB experience. She enjoys working with PYP facilitators to improve student learning through effective instructional support. You can read her previous blog article here.