My journey from Education to Scrum and back

October 21, 2020 ⌛ 10 min

#agile
#eduScrum
#education

Today I would like to share with you my personal experience that changed my life - journey from Education to Scrum and back. All my previous posts were mostly informative, but this time will be different - you will find out what I dream about and what is the role of Education and Scrum in my life.

Education_to_Scrum

How did I start my Education journey?

Long time ago, when I was in junior high school (it is called Gymnasium in Poland) I had a dream to become a teacher. I was inspired by my Polish teacher (from secondary school) who was a wonderful woman and who taught me how to believe in myself. I will never forget how much she helped me to become a person who I am now.

To achieve my dreams, I started working with children voluntarily by organizing Christian and music classes next to my church. I was religious back then, but that’s not a point. The most important thing for me was time when I could organize activities for children and enjoy it! I was playing with them, organizing events for all church celebrations, teaching at summer camps etc.

I could see how children were growing! And I don’t mean the religious part, but their confidence. I remember many of them who were shy, didn’t believe in themselves, but after a few weeks of activities organized by me and my friends they started changing. They were more confident, full of ideas and they started collaborate with other children.

Seeing how people grow and use their potential is an amazing experience!

growing

Working at school

After high school I decided to study Early Childhood Education. It was such an interesting time for me. I’ve met so many inspiring people and learned a lot about children - they mind, behaviour, teaching ways and more.

In my last years of studying I was working as an intern in private kindergarten and private school. It was a great experience, because both places were focused on children’s creativity and teachers were full of amazing ideas.

Then, I had my last internship - in Polish public school. I must admit that the difference between private and public school was enormous. First of all, the number of students in a class was 3 x bigger than in private school. I know that you can say, it is a normal thing, but I was wondering how easy it will be to not notice someone’s needs if class is so huge.

Another thing that I noticed, was killing students’ creativity. They had to follow rules, write or read something in their coursebooks, but there was no space at all for their own thinking process.

school

I believe that the role of a teacher is important and it can change students lives for better or worse. As a teacher I wanted to help children to grow, to discover their potential, not to kill it…

Maybe I was a coward, but I was devastated by the education system and how it was used in public schools and I decided that I don’t want to be part of a system that doesn’t focus on students’ needs.

When I was organizing after school activities for children I experienced how creative they are. It was amazing to observe how many ideas they can have and how quickly they can find solutions if you give them freedom. Unfortunately I didn’t see too much space for that in school. I was also afraid that I could have a negative impact on an individual’s life if I simply do not notice them in the class of more than 30 students.

I know, if you are a teacher you probably think that these are things that you can work around and they shouldn’t stop me from continuing my career as a teacher. Maybe you are right, but that was the first lesson about myself - I found out what my values are and how I want or don’t want to impact someone’s life.

New direction - Economics and Finances

After graduating I moved in a totally different direction - I started studying Managerial Economics and working in a financial company as a fund accountant. It was still time when I was looking for the best path for myself.

My fund accounting career took almost 4 years and it was time when I learned a lot about myself. I discovered how I love problem solving and collaboration with people. In my last position - supervisor, I had a chance to be a leader and do what I liked the most - help people to discover their potential and to grow. After solving a lot of issues, creating some structures in the team I started feeling that I need more challenges and I need to be passionate about my job.

direction

Discovering Scrum

That was the moment when I discovered Scrum. My boyfriend, who is a developer, was using it daily in his workplace and told me about the framework. As soon as he explained to me some rules and values, I started reading about it and became more and more curious.

Collaboration with the team and stakeholders, adapting to changes and discussing how the work can be improved were exactly what I would imagine in every workplace. I was trying to use Scrum and Agile values in my fund accounting job, but I knew it wasn’t possible to implement the whole framework there, because we didn’t work on projects.

Scrum

I knew from my boyfriend that Scrum was the most popular in IT companies, so I started looking for a new job in an IT company. I wanted to learn as much as possible about project work and I started dreaming about becoming a Scrum Master in the future.

That was the moment when I started working as a Project Management Officer. It was such a great experience, because I could see how project work looks like. I’ve met many wonderful people and I learned a lot from them. It wasn’t a long period, because I got an opportunity to study IT Project Management in Australia.

First steps in Australia

Even if I felt wonderful in Polish IT company and I didn’t really want to leave, I knew that the opportunity to study and live abroad may not happen again. That’s why I decided to move to Australia with my boyfriend and discover what is waiting for me on the other side of the globe.

As I already mentioned I started from studying IT Project Management in the afternoon and during the day doing everything that was possible without a full time working visa (I had student visa) - cleaning, working in a restaurant and cafe. It helped me to appreciate all professions and understand how hard it can be to work in hospitality. In the meantime my boyfriend got a job in an IT company and we both received full time working visas.

Australia

Project Managment & Scrum

Once I finished my course I started looking for an IT job in Project Management. I found a role in the IT consulting company and I started in the IT Infrastructure project in Project Management team.

In the meantime I discovered that there is a Information Solution (software development team) in the company and they were using “Scrumish” in their projects. As soon as my first project was finished I got an opportunity to join that team and help them in one of their projects.

It was an amazing moment, because I could finally use Scrum on a daily basis. What is more I could finally reuse my teaching and facilitating skills.

Of course, after consulting with the team I discovered that their “Scrumish” was far away from Scrum. So I decided to help them to discover what Scrum and Agile are. I believe that it helped the team and our clients a lot to create great products and collaborate better. I am so proud of the team, their work and journey from “Scrumish” to proper Scrum!

Since that time, I have been working on multiple projects: software development with Scrum or IT Infrastructure projects with Waterfall. Every day is a new lesson for me about people, their way of working and thinking.

Back to Education

Now you know what was my journey from Education to Scrum, so let’s talk about the last piece of this post - How did I get back to Education?

This story started around 1 or 1,5 year ago when I read an interesting book called “Scrum. The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” written by Jedd Sutherland who is co-creator of Scrum. I can definitely recommend this book to everyone. It was full of real life examples describing implementation of Scrum.

The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Somewhere at the end of the book, I discovered one example of using Scrum that I believe changed my life, but it can also change the lives of many people in the world.

The example that I am talking about was eduScrum - the way of using Scrum in Education, at school.

You cannot imagine how happy I was when I realized that someone is already using the framework that I love at school. What is more, it is changing the way of teaching and helps students to take ownership of their own learning process. It means that there is a space for creativity, critical thinking and a lot more at school.

eduScrum - what happened next?

Once I discovered eduScrum, I started reading about it. I’ve done a lot of research to fully understand how it can be used in education and how original Scrum has been adjusted.

Few months ago I participated in online eduScrum training with lovely women - Paulina Orbitowska-Fernandez and Marta Orbitowska who are certified eduScrum trainers in Poland (eduScrum Polska). It was a great experience, because I could not only learn more about eduScrum, but also discover amazing Polish teachers who were passionate and full of enthusiasm.

That was also a moment when I realized that eduScrum is not a popular framework in Australia and I started having a new dream to promote it and to create a community of people who are interested in Education, who would like to help students to discover their potential.

eduScrum Source: https://www.eduscrum.nl/resources

It’s of course easy to say something like this, but much more difficult to implement it. So I did my first step and contacted Willy Wijnands who is the creator of eduScrum. I asked him for advice and he recommended training that was conducted by him and Kristina Fritsch (eduScrum trainer in Germany).

Attending the training was a great experience. I received a lot of practical examples from Willy and Kristina and my knowledge about eduScrum became even deeper and more extensive. Training was divided into multiple online sessions and as at the end we had homework to create our own project with eduScrum. I joined the team of 2 inspiring ladies - Marija & Carina and we are preparing the workshop for Marija’s students about Learning how to learn.

This post is really long and I appreciate it if you are still reading it! :) It’s almost the end - I promise.

Innovative Education & eduScrum in Australia

Now I am on my way to becoming an official eduScrum trainer and I created my vision of how I can make a positive impact on Education in Australia and overall in the world.

One of my first steps is creating a group “Innovative Education in Australia” that can gather all people who are interested in developing innovative solutions that can make Education better.

If you are a teacher, parent, coach, facilitator or someone who would like to help students to adapt to the fast changing world feel free to join the meetup group Innovative Education in Australia. I will be organizing our first meetup soon, so stay tuned!

Innovative_Education

Next steps…

As you can see from this post, my journey from Education to Scrum and back was long and full of changes. Thank you so much for reading my story! I really wanted to show you who I am so that you can know me better.

I would like to continue my eduScrum adventure and help you to discover this topic better. In the upcoming weeks you can expect more posts about it.

I hope to see you soon at one of my meetups!

Share this post on LinkedIn and follow me on Instagram

Written by Renata Blicharz, a passionate Scrum Master who uses Scrum and eduScrum to change the world. Find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.