Saturday, April 10, 2010
Respecting my elders. From slide rules to apps.
Society is changing. FAST. Students are changing. FAST. Education is changing. SLOWLY. Many experienced teachers often get a bad reputation for their inertia. Teaching the same way they did 20 years ago. I was sitting at friday evening social hour with some colleagues yesterday when I overheard something that made me think. Two teachers (great friends) spoke of using a slide rule in math. This thought stunned me for a minute. How could someone say these teachers don't adapt to change? They've adapted from slide rules to calculators to graphic calculators to computers to web applications to portable devices with apps. Hmmmm.... they now do their attendance online, are my Facebook friends, do online reporting and help me create "make up" assignments for credit recovery when a student fails their course. So, yes, some things like teaching strategies, classroom set up and how we assess take a long time to change (especially when there is very little leadership to support, model or encourage this change), BUT look at some of the fundamental changes many, many teachers have adapted to. We should always begin by acknowledging that which has been done well. I often think so far outside of the box that I am annoying to many. My principal even jokes (I think its a joke) and hides under her desk when I have that look in my eye of a new idea. Rarely do I stop and reflect on all the positive changes that have been made. Sure, we stop and celebrate successes along the way, but I'd like to take this moment to give kudos to educators who have taught for 20 years and adapted to many, many changes in education. This doesn't mean i'll stop pushing the boundaries with new ideas, new technologies and new theories (and annoying the heck out of you), but I do sincerely recognize the major adaptability and changes you have seen and excelled at in education. Students greatly benefit from an experienced teachers knowledge, wisdom and well, experience. No technology or teaching theory or blog could replace that experience. I think this message often gets lost in the shuffle.