And, we are learning about technology again. It’s too bad that teachers only get this sort of thing in one day snippets. I feel as if there is no way to get anything really accomplished when people have time to really explore and then come back and ask questions.
One of the greatest things about teachers is that they are (usually) eager to learn new things. One of the most difficult parts of teaching as a profession is that the amount of time teachers are given to learn new things is effectively—none. Which means, of course, that teachers need to use their free time to keep up with what is going on–creating a constant tension between work and, you know, the rest of life.
What does this have to do with technology? Technology has the potential to free up some of that time, to create some knowledge, to make the search for knowledge quicker and more accurate. It also, of course, has the potential to waste enormous amounts of time, but so does television and reading wikipedia and education blogs must do a little bit more for your mind right?
Teachers know that their students need time to learn, time to engage and think about what they have been exposed to, time to question and figure out what is going on. Teachers need that same opportunity; they need to have more time to learn the new stuff, and, of course, this needs to be an acknowledged part of their job, valued and supported, not a choice that pits personal necessity against teaching commitment.
This year at promotion a number of my students were honored. As we were handing out the diplomas, a teacher-friend of mine noticed me stuffing some extra paper in a few of them.
“Oh, I’m stuffing their nomination sheets into their folders. Even if they didn’t win, it’s nice to read nice things that someone else wrote about you.”
I thought the conversation ended there, but apparently my friend took my words to heart because I just got a copy of a letter that, apparently, nominated me for teacher of the year at our school (I didn’t win–our FANTASTIC science teacher won–and she is definitely an inspiring choice). The sentence that stood out the most for me was
“And she calls them “her kids” because each and every one of them is special to her. And because they know she values them, some of them perform only to make her happy…”
Now, I’ve often been asked why I have so few discipline problems (I’m youngish, and short, and…enthusiastic..so many people expect my classes to seem more chaotic than they are). I think this is why. I value each and every one of my students. Even the ones who stick noodles up one nostril to pull it out the other, or go home and “borrow” an Ipod from someone else (we got it back), or just generally have to struggle with school. I value and respect each and every one of them.
It was nice to hear someone thought the same of me.
Because of various things (marriage! moving!), I won’t be starting the school year in a classroom come September. This is the first time since kindergarten (since I was in kindergarten) that I won’t be “in school” in some form or another. At the end of June (with 8th grade promotion fast approaching), I hopped around with renewed energy. I would have time to myself! I would read! I would return to school for a PhD the next September and use the year off to prepare! I would grow as a person!
Two weeks later?
I miss my kids. I want my classroom back. I have so much to teach! What in the world am I going to do with myself if I don’t have 64+ tweenagers to entertain, entice, and encourage?
I have no idea.
Suddenly, not working doesn’t sound like much fun.