The other day, I read a post by Karl Lindgren-Streicher about his imperfect classroom. As I read his honest reflection, I connected to it on the basis of the inconsistent truths that teachers often get while scrolling through social ramblings of edu.
If you live on twitter long enough, you might leave thinking that…
1. Great classrooms have access to 1:1 devices
Not all classrooms have access to devices for every student. As a matter of fact, some of the biggest contributors to social media actually operate 1-3 ipad classrooms. Great classrooms are classrooms where kids feel connected, are engaged and learning. Sometimes technology is involved and sometimes it isn’t. You may not have access to very many devices and contrary to popular belief, not all kids have a cell phone (more on that later). Instead of beating yourself up for what your classroom lacks, create learning moments that matter using the resources that you have.
2. Smartboards are the death of edu
Let me be clear. I’m not talking about new purchases of boards which I find laughable when people quote prices as much as $8,000 each. Who does that? (I paid well under $2000 each for a board, projector and installation.) Yes, you can record a lesson, share files and write on an ipad; but walking around with an ipad teaching is no different than standing at a smartboard if you are the one doing all of the work. With that said, the problem does not lie with with the device but with the lackluster training and support. That applies to the shiny ones in our hands as well as those on our walls.
3. Get on twitter and be reborn!
This one drives me nuts and I used to preach it too! The fact is that building a network takes time. Change is not a guarantee of joining twitter but a result of owning the need to think differently and being exposed to the resources to do so. I didn’t “change” when I joined twitter. I changed when I started reading books, blogs, chatting and having real conversations with people who challenged my thinking. It’s not an overnight process. Change is NOT an instant sign-up away. However, if one sticks to the process of sharing and collaborating…great things can happen.
4. Technology engages EVERY learner!
Technology doesn’t engage learners. Caring teachers, interesting content and tasks engage learners. You can have the most amazing technology on the planet and kids will see right through it if the purpose isn’t relevant. Students are the best “BS” catchers around and believe me they know when what they do is “busy work” compared to student driven tasks. I absolutely LOVE using technology for student learning but I do it with the end in mind and my students at the forefront. As the great Dr. Rita Pierson said, “Kids don’t learn from people that they don’t like.” (That includes those that have things that plug in!)
5. Every new idea works for everyone else.
Seasoned ideas work a lot better than unseasoned ideas. Guess what…every teacher has epic fails during instruction. It’s what you do as a result of that failure that matters. I’ve personally tried many things that did not work and at the end of the day, as long as I focused on the original intent…all worked according to plan. I admitted my mistakes, reflected and adjusted. Some people paint a picture of perfection. You need to know that there is no such thing as perfection for even the “best” of educators.
These, like most of my postings, are my own random thoughts and beliefs. What I hope is that by reading this, some teacher somewhere will stop beating his/herself up for their “perceptions” of lackluster progression. Stop that! Use what you have. Work towards getting what you need and move your students with the greatest of intentions.