I am passionate about helping children. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a teacher. As my cousin reminded me this summer, I always played the ‘teacher role’ while playing school when we were children. I also remember career day back in middle school. My teacher had asked us to select 3 jobs that we were interested in. I picked teaching because I wanted to help children, a pediatrician because I wanted to help sick children and a secretary because I wanted to help others stay organized. Little did I know that I would become a teacher and my job would include all of those things that I wanted in a job. Everyday I get an opportunity to help children. Sometimes it’s with an area that they struggle with, sometimes it’s providing a safe environment, or teaching them something new. No matter what, I know that at the end of the school year my students are moving on with a little more self-confidence and a brighter future. In some small way I have helped each and every student of mine.
This week has really opened my eyes to the reality of the importance of technology in the classroom. I have always known that we need to integrate more technology, but I've never known how or what to teach. Since I started teaching 10 years ago there has always been a push for fidelity to the curriculum. Now we have moved away from that and we have more freedom to use the resources that we feel as educators are needed to teach the standards in our grade level. This is great except where do you start? When is there time to plan and create projects that are hands on all the time? Have they already been created? It is so mush easier to just teach with the materials that you have and not branch out to something new. The problem with that is our students are the ones who suffer.
As I watched several videos about the 21st century classrooms I started wondering, what could that look like in my small classroom of 28 third grade students? Can I remodel my library area to make it more inviting? Should I remove all student materials and only have what is needed at each station? There are so many small ways I could change my room and change the way students perceive learning. If they don't have assigned seats, but assigned groups and projects to work on each day, will their engagement change? All of these ideas are great but will they really work at my school? In my classroom? Just trying to get an independent assignment complete if I'm not walking around and pushing them is a challenge. I would love to try this model but it is very intimidating. My students struggle to follow step by step directions both on paper and on computers.
I would like to know more about the planning that it takes to run a 21st century classroom. When and how do teachers teach the curriculum needed to problem solve when half of their class is not at grade level in reading, math or both subject areas? I feel that this model is great for students who are at grade level, have good behavior and have the abilities to problem solve, but its just not reality for all. Some of my students struggle to stay focused in the morning because they are hungry. They didn't get to school early enough for breakfast and now they have to wait until recess to have their first meal of the day. I wonder if this style of teaching would help with some of the behavior issues or would still be there? I guess I will have to just try it out and see what happens.