Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What Does it Mean to Teach in 2019?

 What does it mean to teach in 2019?
nicholas james

This school year I really have had to step back and assess what the heck it means to be a teacher.

What used to contain chairs - neatly tucked in, desks - aligned in well organized rows, a chalkboard with a few dust filled erasers, and an apple atop the teachers desk now contains tables or desks in various arrangements around the room, chairs scattered aimlessly, a SMARTboard or screen on the wall.

And that’s just the beginning. The ever changing world that we live in today makes it difficult to keep up. With the rapid advancement of technology, the growing number of standards to teach, and the endless todo list it makes it hard to determine where exactly to start.  

How do we do this you ask? Well, we are all trying to figure that out.

It is undeniable that technology is everywhere. We want to be fully integrated, streamlined. We are constantly trying to answering the question, how can technology make our lives more simple.

Our students are no exception. They are so used to being stimulated by technology outside of the classroom that when they get in the classroom they are expecting the same thing. If the lesson is not immediately stimulating or is presented in a way that they consider ‘boring’ they check right out for the day.

I often feel that I work as a salesperson, not a teacher. As I plan my year, my units, my lessons, and my day I am constantly wondering, ‘Am I presenting the material in such a way that will engage all of the students?’

This year, my buy in to integrating technology into my teaching practice took the form of a classroom instagram account and a website. Both of which students have access to. More to come on those later!!

In addition to the integration of technology in and out of the classroom, the growing number of standards teachers are expected to cover in a single school year also seems to be an impossible task. And, more often than not, teachers are also spending countless hours reviewing past standards that should have been covered in previous years, but were lost on the students. Whether this is the students doing or their previous teacher is anyone’s guess.

We are constantly expecting our students to produce more and more, but not giving them more time in which to do it.

How can we create rigorous tasks for our students? How can I ensure every student passess their regents exam with a college ready score? How can we ensure all students are exposed to various AP courses? How can we get students to take college courses in high school?

But also...

How am I going to get every student to even pass? How do I make up for years of knowledge gap? How do I get students to understand the big ideas and the procedural skills? How do integrate tech into my class?

Now, that being said, I love what I do. I am truly passionate about teaching. If I wasn’t, I don’t think I would be able to find the strength to get up and go to work in the morning.

There is so much work left to be done. We are currently in a time of innovation in the field of education. How exciting!! We are exploring new terrain, pushing boundaries, and developing what education can and should look like for future generations. Man, we are truly doing it all.

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