PLN Education Blog
My journey of learning digital literacy, establishing a personal learning network, and becoming a qualified 21st century teacher.
Reading this blog post "A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days- a sobering lesson learned" (Anonymous, 2014) made me really consider the teacher that I am and the teacher that I want to be. One of my first thoughts after my very first experience in a classroom with block scheduling was "Wow! They sit for so long!". Of course I am not that far removed with the experience myself. It is easy to recollect that antsy feeling that would hit after sitting through far too many lectures in a day, and about the subject I love and want to spend my life teaching no less. So as I read through this account it brought to light how important it will be to look at my class and my lessons through a different lens, the lens of the student. One of the points that jumped out as a read was the idea that while there might be content that needs to be covered, what good does it do if you are relaying it to an audience that is checked-out and done for the day. Students are going through the motions, doing what they have been trained to do, and might not actually be learning. And can we blame them? I have been to many a meeting where the adults are all turned having side conversations as the speaker is presenting, but yet we expect students to sit is a chair for hours on end and be attentive and engaged at every moment. But do not dare speak. And especially do not move around. Surely I am not blind to the plight of the student, in fact I fully accept the fact that my high school education was what dreams are made of. And I do not deny that if I had been forced to sit and passively engage in my education I would not have succeeded or excelled. But this article served as a reminder to keep those thoughts at the forefront of my teaching style and lesson planning, particularly when the pressure of standards and content and testing are glaring me in the face. My students deserve my respect, patience, understanding, and empathy. Those are tools that will serve me just as well as my content knowledge. The deserve to be active participants in their learning, and it is my job to be their guide.
Anonymous author. (2014). A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days. Accessed from: https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/
The article "Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century 'Story'" (MindShift, 2015) brought to light a concept about education that is often overlooked; that trends in education tend to oscillate between the hands-on inquiry to the more structured testing and performance approach. Here and there I have heard teachers discuss this idea, mostly to bemoan another change in curriculum for an undetermined amount of time before it inevitably shifts back. Personally, I am hoping that there will be a shift, and one in the direction we are headed. As a future science teacher, just now starting to become familiar with NGSS, I am excited about the focus of the standards and encouraged that they were designed with the intent of having a scientifically literate society. As MindShift (2015) points out, this is a time of great change, and we are more connected globally than ever before. It is important as teachers to recognize this change, and prepare our students for the world that is to come and not just the world as it is now.
So as I look forward, it is as important that I prepare myself as it is that I prepare my students. In the article Mindshift (2015) presents a variety of ways teachers can prepare for the changing educational and global landscape. The first being to appreciate and embrace the challenge of the changing landscape. I would be lying if I said that this is going to be easy for me, I just purchase my first smartphone a year ago and have only begun to curate an online presence through this blog, Twitter, and use of Google+. If I am going to be an effective teacher I must look at the changes without fear, and use the tools and innovations in my favor. This also means, as MindShift (2015) suggests, that I must become a collaborator and participator in this globally connected world of educations. I am not there yet, but am making strides in the right direction, and it is exciting to know that our learning communities stretch so far beyond the walls of our school sites or the district office. Innovation and brilliant ideas are everywhere, and now we can connect, give and share ideas, and collaborate globally, all skills we need to pass along to our students as the world changes in the coming years. As the world becomes more connected, so do we as teachers, but for the sake of our continued learning but also to help model what our students will need to become successful in the new global landscape.
MindShift (2015). Redefining teaching with a 21st century education 'story'. KQED News. Retrieved from: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/11/redefining-teachers-with-a-21st-century-education-story/