Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stop the Insanity!

I have been away from my computer for a few weeks: state assessment testing, reporting, planning, re-vamping online program, plus having a life! The list just goes on. However, sometimes I think it is better for my health not to be online as I read things that just seem so far from the truth!

I appreciate all the technololgy people out there. In fact, thanks for all you know and do. Because of people like you, I have learned a ton over the past two years and feel as though I have made great strides in changing my teaching. But is it reasonable that the average person/teacher knows everything about technology and implements every new thing that comes across her desk? Is there a checklist for using technology with a clear purpose and educational value? Or do we just try all new things out on kids to experiment in their learning?

Well, in a perfect world teachers could do whatever they want. They could teach what they see as important and ignore all else. However, in the real world, there are tests, reports, AYP, and a multitude of things that demand attention. So when a statement is made that consistency in a program for students is important, does that mean we are simply stiving for "mediocrity." I think not! From a person who is learning, I need to learn one thing at a time, gain some mastery, understand the point, get the purpose! Things change too fast to try them all!

While something may look "fun," don't we owe it to our students and ourselves to ask the question "why"? You know kids are going to ask, so why don't we answer it first. Lots of things in life look fun, but sometimes we need to use a little caution in the things we choose to avoid being faced with a consequence. Does caution equal boredom? Maybe for some; but for others it is safe and necessary.

So when we look to add new things to our classrooms, we need to ask ourselves these questions: What is the point? Why do my students need to know this? How will it help them understand the content of my class in a more effective way?

All things aside, the "wow factor" has little credence in my book. If it is only about impressing people, you're doing it for the wrong reason!

Hermann Hesse once said, "“It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.”