|Instagram post 7/13/15 #FindYourPark|
I really like being an educator. I tend to think of myself as a facilitator of learning and I recognize that I always have more to learn. My summer reading list includes three books:
Teach Like a Pirate (Dave Burgess)
He's the Weird Teacher (Doug Robertson)
and a more handbook-style book on Google Classroom...
I am in a transitional stage at my school. After two years as the middle school science teacher, I am moving into the technology lab where I will instruct all K-8 students and offer EdTech support to my colleagues. This comes as our school transitions to becoming a GAFE school. Big changes and lots to look forward to in the year ahead. But first, I had to completely close out myself as the science teacher. I thought I had done that. I spent extra time following the end of the school year packing up my things and making the move from the science classroom to the technology lab. Some things I packed up and brought home. And, there they sat. And sat. And sat some more. Until this morning.
I realized it was time to move forward. So, I sat down, went through the things and sorted what I need at home (I'm a mom, too, so of course I'm a 24/7 educator), what I can pack away, and what needs to just go for good. I sat down with my three bags and a single, small box. I know there will be a time when I will need these things again. So, packed into this box are some of my favorite science items including tweezers that I purchased recently, three different types of Slinky, and two rubber ducks. How cool is that? I have fun stuff in my science collection and they all had great lessons to go along with them. I bought my first full-sized Slinky in YEARS to incorporate into our P-waves/S-waves lessons. The kids had fun and learned great science at the same time. I pack away a few items, but what I can never and will never pack away is my desire to do right by the students and teach them well.
Guess who's coming to class...
By a few weeks into the school year last year, my seventh graders were never quite sure who would be teaching them that day. I had started doing different things to grab their attention and really hook them. One of those things was trying different accents. It worked so well for that group of students and I got more out of them because of it. Here's the best part...I got more out of them because they were getting more out of the class. They were engaged and learning and exploring. This class was so excited about what we would do each day and it helped me find even more motivation to do more of what I was doing.
Back to the reading list. I started Teach Like a Pirate last week and I am taking my time with it. I am using a pencil as a bookmark, in fact. I am making notes and stars and underlining. As I am reading I am finding that I am on the right track and I can keep doing what I am doing. I struggled with this position change for next year, but the more I look at it and the more I explore new ideas, the more excited I get about it. I will miss my science classes terribly, but now I can do different things that will continue to support their learning. And, I may just show up in costume one day. Definitely I will keep some of my accents up to date. As I read through the Rapport section yesterday, I got a huge idea and started working on it. In case a student is reading, I won't share it just yet. Though I will say, the door to the technology lab will be a portal to another world where amazing learning takes place.
Early this morning I read what Dave Burgess wrote at just the right time. It was exactly what I needed.
"It's not supposed to be easy -- it's supposed to be worth it."
And, it is. Every bit of what I do is worth it. I have struggled and had lessons where I fell flat on my face (not literally...well, most of the time). I have had lessons that were among some of the most successful things I have ever experienced. I show students that it's ok to try and fail and try again. And I show them how we learn from each other. Next school year, I will begin developing a STEAM fair, I will work on developing a Makerspace, I will seek out more new ideas, we will have an actual newspaper, students will run the yearbook, we will develop video and we may even try our hands at a Podcast. Amazing things are happening. I read over the weekend this:
Sometimes God brings time of TRANSITION to create TRANSFORMATION
Regardless of your personal beliefs, there is something in there for everyone. We can take times of transition and transform ourselves, our teaching, our students and beautiful things can and will happen.
I attended an art high school where I spent two years studying theater. I often put on plays, skits, puppet shows, whatever I could to perform for my family throughout my youth and, still as I read my book this morning, I nodded in agreement. I am a creative person, but that does not mean it all comes easy to me. It takes lots of hard work. It takes networking. It takes asking for help when I need it. It takes sharing ideas. It takes successes and failures and trial and error. But, by golly, I am going to rock my new world in the technology lab next year. What are you going to do?
Side note, as I sat down to write this, I saw something on Twitter that fit perfectly on the #SlowchatED and was impressed out how everything came together today. This was the post I was supposed to write today. You'll get more about the outdoors EDventures soon. Oh....and a video idea is brewing. Good times!
Happy Monday, folks!