Meet Your Mentors

This to me means “Meet the People Who Are Shaping Education.” I have to admit, I am highly impressed. There are so many wonderful teachers who are doing what I dream of doing—using technology in the classroom.

Let me clarify a few things with this:

  1. Using technology doesn’t mean that is pops up once in a while. Using technology to me means that it is a critical part of education within the classroom. Technology isn’t something you try out a couple of classes per semester. It is something that is inbred within varied teaching strategies. It also means that teaching goes beyond only using one specific type of technology. Just as our teaching strategies need to be varied and cover a broad spectrum, so does our technology. After all, we are using technology as a tool to enhance our teaching.
  2. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve met many teachers who are doing a fantastic job of using technology and who are working at becoming more comfortable with technology in the classroom, but these mentors are going above and beyond. They are revolutionary in education. The scariest part of using technology in the classroom is knowing that your students know WAY more about it than I do. Why not use this to my advantage? Instead of being afraid of what could go wrong, I need to get over it and figure out what could go right!

I’m reading a really good book right now called Focus on the 90%, written by motivational speaker Darci Lang. When I say motivational speaker, I really do mean it too. I had the opportunity to listen to her talk during a Teacher Professional Day while I was interning. She was fantastic. The basis for her talks, her books, and her life is focusing on the ninety percent of life that is good. She explains that people tend to focus on the negative ten percent of their lives. She preaches that we should instead focus on the positive ninety percent. I think that using technology in the classroom could follow a similar trend. Everyone is so careful and concerned about the negative ten percent (I do believe it is more like one percent) that they forget about the ninety percent that will enrich education.

During my internship, I always made sure to plan for the worst. I tried to not let the worst scare me off from what I could offer at my best. There is a lot of pressure from the community to be very accountable – this a good pressure as it keeps us on our A-games – but it also creates a tension that we live in fear of making mistakes. Just as I want my students to feel comfortable and safe enough in my classroom to not fear making mistakes, I should feel that same comfort to try doing something new. I was blessed with a cooperating teacher who enabled me to try anything I liked. Some of it was great, some of it wasn’t, but I learned a lot more than if I feared making mistakes. Shouldn’t that same privilege be afforded to educators? After all, we want the best from our teachers, so why not let them continuously learn too?

Now back to the start of this post – meeting our mentors. I am so excited to partnered with Aviva Dunsiger and Daryl Bambic for my virtual internship. They are leading the way in using technology in their classrooms, and I can’t wait to be a small part of it and learn from them.

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