Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Advice for Potential Teachers....

January Blogging Challenge day 14:  If a young person told you he or she wanted to become a teacher, what would you tell her/him?

Interestingly, this happened just the other day. One of my students was talking to her peers in class and mentioned that she'd woken up that morning wanting to be a teacher. Her classmate was surprised, since apparently this student gets all upset when someone doesn't understand.

The student said, "Yes, but only after I've explained it." 

I laughed and said that if she planned to be a teacher, she should get used to that.

She went on to say that the thing that makes her want to be a teacher is the pleasure of helping people understand something they never understood before.

That's why I want to be a teacher, too.

If I were going to give advice to potential teachers, I would say that it's a hard road, but a good one.  It's not just about giving out information that you have at the tip of your tongue; it's about giving people the tools to find out the information for themselves. 

In today's world, teaching is more about what the students learn rather than what the teachers teach.  It's a career choice not unlike the ministry or public service: it's more a calling than a job.  

As a teacher you'll face public criticism by people who wouldn't do your job even if they were paid much more than you ever will be. Politicians and news anchors and parents and the average guy on the street will have an opinion about what you do and how you do it.  You will be, at times, saddened and disgusted, tired and defeated, and tired and overwhelmed.  And then, at times, you will be joyous and proud, humble and amazed, and blessed and rewarded.

But despite the ups and downs and the tilt-a-whirls that come at you, if you do become a teacher you will find that you are going to be blessed beyond measure by the students who come into your life.  Teaching is not a career to "fall back on" or to have "just in case."  It is, if you really want to see children's eyes light up when they learn something new, the only career you will ever really want.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Digital Learning Plan for 2015 (or at least the start of a plan, anyway)

January's Blogging Challenge @TeachThought caught me off guard.  I had been invited for the November challenge, but I hadn't heard anything about January.  I suppose I could have looked to see if there were another blogging challenge, but I didn't think to do so until today. I totally was not in on this from the beginning, but I'm not going to go back to catch up on the first 12 days.

Day 13: What is one area of digital learning that you want to improve on in 2015? How are you going to do this?

With the continued growth of digital learning, I find that I am really trying to make it part of my classroom and teaching.  I have Chromebooks in my classroom, and I find that most of my students really enjoy having access to computers all the time.

This semester I've started using Google Classroom, and I like it.  I've been using it now for exactly six days, so I don't have a lot to say about it yet, but I do like that the students have one place they can check for their daily work as well as see right away what they have done or not done.  I also like the ease in which I am able to see the students' work and give feedback.  So, so far so good.

I'm becoming more and more a teacher who uses technology daily not just as a word processor.  That's what I would like to work more on this year, though.  I need to find more ways to use my Chromebooks than just as fancy typewriters.  I do use them for research and for quiz taking, but I know I could use them even more.

I plan to go to a Google Education workshop (in fact I've already signed up so that I can't "forget about it" when it gets too close to the day), so I hope that I will get a lot of new ideas to bring back to my classes.

Friday, November 28, 2014

November Blogging Challenge: "If I could save time in a bottle..."

Day 27

If you could bottle up the perfect day, what would it look like?

This prompt reminded me of that song by Jim Croce, so I used the title as the title of my post for today...well. for yesterday, as I'm running behind on this whole blogging every day thing.  I was doing well until grades and traveling and spending time with family took precedence.  I'm giving myself some grace, though, and not forcing myself to go back to do the posts I've missed.  But the prompt and the song come together beautifully.  Here's the song to enjoy.

My idea of a perfect day would be one I can sleep in on, wake up gradually in a comfy bed, look out the window to see a wonderland of white unbroken snow and grey flannel skies.  Yes, I know, I'm weird and enjoy the cold where I can bundle up in a warm house with a fuzzy blanket and a book or a laptop to while away the day. 

Another part of the perfect day that I'd love to bottle up is spending time with family around a table burgeoning with good foods and fellowship.  We'd spend the time chatting and telling stories while we ate of the bounty of God's graciousness in provision for us.  Several generations would be there to remind us of those who have gone before us, and we'd smile reminiscently--and sometimes sadly--at the memories of those who cannot be with us at the table, but we'd rejoice that One Day we'd get to sit at the Table with them once again.  

We'd share our blessings and our laughter.  We'd sing a table blessing, and the harmony would bring back the times spent worshiping together at church.  We'd look across the table at our relatives and see the history in each other's glances.  Some of us would amaze the others by our willingness to try a dish we would, normally, not eat.  Others would raise a glass in "cheers" as we thought about friends and family and those unable to be with us because they're gathering at other tables.  

We'd share a blessing for those not so fortunate as to be at home for a holiday dinner: the servicemen and women who are far away from home and family doing their jobs to protect our way of life; the homeless or hungry who would rely on the generosity of missions, kitchens, and strangers in order to have a bit of holiday cheer; the men and women who work in hospitals, police and fire stations, and other such places who might have to have their holiday meal another time because work schedules require them to do so.

The day would conclude with games and conversation and, then, hugs goodbye as everyone goes home.  Then I'd get to get comfy on the couch with a blanket again, with a book or a laptop or the TV tuned to some movie I've not seen in forever.

I'd definitely like to bottle up such a day, letting the sweet vintage age and mature until I needed such a reminder of times spent.  I'd uncork that bottle on a day I felt tired and sad and defeated and alone.  I'd let the bottle breathe and then pour it into a glass to sip on as I let the tired, sad, defeated, alone-ness melt away in the warmth of the memories held in my hand.