Dear Mr and Mrs Kuran…

I used to fear getting my reports sent home when I was a student. Not that I was the worst behaved in the class, but I was far from the best. I loved school; loved being with my friends, finding areas of interest that I could take further, the semi-competitive yet still friendly nature of assessed ‘work’. But still, parent-teacher interviews and report time gave me the chills. I felt like this…

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“Uh oh. I’m a dead man.”

I was, and still am, blessed with two amazing parents who gave their all for me to go to school. Simply, they didn’t want me to waste my time. They wanted me to soak it all in, be the best learner I could be, and that was enough for them. They wanted me to be a happy kid, and still today, want nothing but the best for me, not from me.

I reflect. On the chats around the dinner table. On the way I may have twisted some stories about my ‘successes’: The assignment that I did really well in; the test I aced; the speech I gave that drew a standing ovation.

I regret those moments. I should have been honest. I should have communicated better. I should have respected them enough to take responsibility for my own action (and inactions).

And so I thought – it’s been 13 years since my parents read a report about my progress as a learner. Why not surprise my mum (for her birthday) with an update. About my 2016. The ups. The downs. The successes. The struggles. The real me.

Dean Kuran – Grade 6, 2016

Dean is a caring, enthusiastic learner who has taken many risks this year in his pursuit of being the best member of the school community he can be. He has demonstrated the qualities of being a risk-taker, moving into a new learning environment and being willing to take on new challenges, including a lunchtime drone-flying club, presenting and hosting TeachMeets, giving his students more ownership of their learning – while discovering the delicate line between ownership and anarchy -, being ready to speak up and accept when he has made mistakes and responding positively to constructive criticism.

Dean has been resilient in the face of unforeseen circumstances, for both himself and his peers.  He has focused on finding a balance between extra-curricular activities and non-negotiable tasks. Dean has sought assistance from experts as he looks to take the next step in his development as a facilitator of learning, and has enjoyed experimenting more with inquiry approaches to writing and mathematics. He has dabbled in mindfulness, breathing exercises and a healthier lifestyle to reduce his stresses, and to assist those who also need time to regulate their emotions. 

Dean enjoys developing his learners into effective communicators so that they are confident and feel secure when they speak. He focuses on creating an environment that is safe, welcoming, flexible and energetic. Sometimes, the energy levels can reach a point that may not be conducive for effective learning, and Dean is encouraged to be more composed and forthright with this expectations. 

As an inquirer, Dean has experimented with a variety of approaches to his learning, including the split-screen method,  various thinking routines like this (a personal favourite, particularly in Number), and team-teaching. He has become so aware that learning is not about the product; it is about the process. The trials and tribulations. The new skills we learn, and the old skills we extend. The knowledge we gain. The actions we take. 

He is supported by a close network of mentors, peers and incredible learning support staff, who have enabled him to think deeply about the kind of educator, member of staff and person he wants to be for his students and those around him. He loves a walk down the road for a coffee too. 

Above all, Dean seeks two qualities from his learners, and they are the two that were sought from him by his parents; respect and responsibility.

Dean understands that there is a long way to go on this learning journey, but he is excited for what is to come next.

Process, not product.

Actions, not words.

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Those ears though…

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About Dean Kuran

I'm a primary school teacher at an IB PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. I believe in establishing positive environments in which students can develop confidence and curiosity, while nurturing the skills that will benefit them outside of the learning space.
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2 Responses to Dear Mr and Mrs Kuran…

  1. Jina Belnick says:

    Dean, I would be so proud if this was my report ! I feel quite sure that the way in which you are able to reflect is rubbing off on your learners. What a wonderful gift to share!
    You are truly a natural born inquirer !

  2. Leah Osborne says:

    Hey Dean. I loved this post. The importance of techers modelling the same dispositions and skills we demand of our studetns is critical. (Plus a sense of humour goes a long way!) Fantastic!

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