Friday, July 29, 2011

Three Things I am Thinking About

Three things I am thinking about as the summer semester comes to an end.
ONE:  Summers are a blast at The Eighth Floor. I wish we could get that level of enrollment in the fall and spring semesters.  *sigh*    Maybe we can . . . ?
During the fall and spring semesters I miss the large classes and teaching every day, but in all actuality, we need that slower time so we can do research and learn new skills ourselves.  But, as great as learning is, it’s still not as fun as teaching a class to a room full of fabulous teachers. Just sayin’.
TWO: My paycheck doesn’t make me feel like this class evaluation comment does.
“I really enjoyed all I learned in this class.  The information and your modeling answered many questions for me, helped me develop a more critical eye for evaluating online courses, afforded me the opportunity to read the best research, and experience first-hand the best practices both as a student and teacher.”
If someone said that to me every day, I’d likely teach for free.  I know a lot of teachers feel the same way.  In fact, I am spending the summer with a whole bunch of them. There is something about being around these people. They love what they do and are inspirational simply by nature, I think. Here’s why I say that: they are spending their summer learning and no one is “making” them; they take time to share what they know with the people around them; they are constantly looking for ways to improve student learning; they love their students.  
THREE: Technology has changed me as a teacher.  I’m not even sure where to begin on this – which is why it is something I am thinking about.

  • I know that number one and first and foremost, I would otherwise be teaching English. Love teaching writing, but it has been an amazing challenge to learn to teach something completely new.  
  • I have learned more about teaching in the last six years than I did in the twenty before them.
  • I look at students differently, and I see my role for them in the classroom differently - facilitator or manager more so than “teacher.”
  • I don’t prepare for class as precisely as I use to.  I have to go with the flow and be ready for most anything and any student.
  • I spend more time getting to know what my students are focused on so that I can make their class time relevant to them and less time on what I think they don’t know but need to.  
  • I am more connected to learning networks than ever.  My influences expand beyond the building I teach in.
  • I learn most everything from people on the internet.  (not college professors – Yikes!)
  • I don’t lecture so much as I have a conversation in class.  How we consume information has changed – who can even listen to a lecture anymore.
  • I never teach the same class twice – I can’t!  Students’ needs change and so does the technology.
  • I am connected with my students on multiple levels – social media allows for this.

These are SOME of the things that technology has change about me as a teacher. Technology has made me keep on my toes. Sometimes, paying attention at that intense of a level can wear me down.  Most times, I love it.  I am particularly curious how technology has (or has not) changed other teachers.
So, not that there is even a grand point to this post – but these are three things I am thinking about today. 
Just Thinkin'
Lee Anne

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