I’d been working at my school in Potsdam, Germany for a few months when they sent me on my first PYP workshop in 2000. I remember sitting through the first few sessions thinking, “I understand what they’re saying, don’t I?” By the second day, I was saying to myself, “I have no idea what they’re saying, do I?”
On the third day, we were supposed to be working on one of our own units with the other participants. One of the presenters was sharing a unit she’d taught at her school in Frankfurt with our group and POP! I actually jumped up a little bit and she turned to look at me. “Got it?” she said. “I think so, yes!”
I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on my own trying to work my way through my next unit, completely redesigning it. At the end of the session, my workshop leader came back over to me to check in and I showed her what I’d worked out. She never said if I had it right or not, but the fact that she was there to listen and help me process really helped me redefine my role as a teacher and my understanding of what learners are really capable of.