Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.

Monday, August 26, 2013

All For 1:1 and 1:1 For All!

Our first week of the 2013-14 school year is under our belt, and from the buzz around our building, it seems that most educators are feeling very excited. I, too, am walking around with an abnormally large spring in my step; I am having some of the funnest conversations with my colleagues at the start of a school year that I can ever remember having! Brainstorming ways to tap into students' creativity, providing them with appropriate but myriad choices, developing a community that extends beyond the classroom walls, figuring out ways to modify, rather than add to, the classroom work flow, etc.

I've also had other conversations, just as informative, but with a different level of energy. These made me think of an article I recently shared with my colleagues, "Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply." I find this a pertinent article, not only because I believe it should be the foundation of developing a constructive classroom climate, but it should be the foundation of our interactions with colleagues. Empathy. And although many of us are feeling excited to explore and play and live spontaneously during this new 1:1 paradigm shift, others are feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, and yes, quite lonely.

I see you. I hear your concerns. And I want you to know that your feelings matter. And I'd like to help, if I can.

I hope that the following ideas provide you with some comfort and a needed sense of calm as you journey through the "buzz" of this school year.
  1. You're not alone. I feel these similar levels of anxiety with this 1:1 adoption. I really do. All of us do. When I hear someone share a really exciting, innovative lesson plan using the new 1:1 environment, I feel happy for the teacher, and I feel excited for the students, and I feel this sense of defeat and pressure envelop me. "How did s/he make that happen? Where did the idea come from? I'll never get there!" But then I remember...
  2. ...It's not a competition. Perhaps if we all remember that each of us brings a different perspective to the classroom, unique ideas and ways of experimenting, we can calm down, take a deep breath, and simply try something. Try anything. And remember, students like freedom, so...
  3. ...Let your students help. Throw them an opportunity and see how they might help create a collaborative learning environment using their Chromebooks. You can then learn from the experience, formulate some questions about both the mechanics and content of the lesson. And with those questions...
  4. ...Reach out. Get feedback from colleagues who teach the same class. Or brainstorm with your Instructional Tech Faciliators. Or contact me. I'd love to sit and work/play with you! I'll learn as much as you do! 
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, let's remember, that the best 1:1 "device" is a caring and curious teacher. Don't let go of the things you do that so brilliantly and uniquely communicate your sincere concern to your students. Whether you are gifted at storytelling, or have a fabulous sense of humor, or you generate lively, engaging conversations, or you inspire kids with new opportunities, or your presence floods a room with a needed sense of calm now and then, or...whatever the case may be, bring THAT with you every day. And...

...The rest will follow. Each of us possesses talents that might be getting lost in the shuffle right now: through your passions, you've already figured out how to reach your students. As long as you remain as playful and curious as you have in years past in order to connect with your students, anything you try in this new learning environment will be beneficial.

And know that we really are all in this together.


S. Bolos said...

A great list of advice from someone who understands how anxious every teacher is during the first days of school!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Feeling very good right about now, because of you and also because of the Buffett concert after glow.