I just don’t know what to say…I’m so proud of her. There she was, not a eighteen months ago: the old school, highly inflexible secondary mathematics teacher (“I’m not gonna try that”; “It takes too much time”; “It’s all flash and dash”).
But here she is using the SmartBoard, downloading vidoes, creating an interactive classroom, learning along with her students, and reinvigorating her professional development. Despite what many on staff think, I don’t live and breathe technology. I understand that it has it’s place in education. I know that it will NEVER replace the teacher (although it will replace the teacher’s role).
But technology or the learning of technology, a new skill, has improved the mathematics teacher’s relationship with her students; she’s excited about preparing for new lessons; She has invigorated her professional calling as she has committed herself five minute every evening to some form of technology (i.e. viewing a YouTube video on some form of classroom -based technology; reviewing new interactive software; or just converting documents into PDFs.
But her new found connection with her students is, to me, the most profound. She recognizes that the students don’t expect her to be the ‘knower’ of everything digital. This has relaxed her and allowed for greater interaction with her students on a different level. Both she and her students laugh and joke; as she learns to write using the smartboard (it’s not as easy a thing as you think–it requires lots of practice) while a student is frustrated with a geometrey question. Both learning something new. Both sympathizing with each other. And yet both supporting one another. It’s almost as though the technology indirectly humanizes some people–and for the better–of course.
At several points during our brief (and excited) conversation that morning the mathematics teacher kept reiterating–“it’s so easy, if I can do it, then anyone can”–this from someone who admittedly “still can’t work the family DVD player…”
I can’t wait to introduce her to the power of Twitter and professional learning networks…
One day at a time.