Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ownership, voice, the Student Teacher and the BT...

Today's plan for our ICT block was to introduce the class to Google Docs, while I would spend some time with a select group of motivated and responsible students scaffolding them towards being authors on the class blog. The best laid plans...

I had got the class logged into Google and they were happy exploring its collaborative nature. Some were enjoying writing stories together, whilst others were appreciating the chance to do free writing and investigate the platform. Class experts were dealing with the simple problems giving me more time for the blogging group, I thought I was doing a good job. Engaged, motivated and "free" choice, all ticked.

The blogging group got into the dashboard of blogger and we discussed creating a new post, they wrote a title, argued, recrafted, refined, started over and procrastinated their way to an agreement on a title. I'd lost them already, they switching off completely when I said that we should concentrate on a text only post and worry about images, video [and all the exciting stuff] later.

About this time, my principal entered to suggest that I invite the student teacher into my room to have a look at ICT. "Sure, that's a great idea! Tell her to come on over and spend the afternoon". Earlier in the day we'd had our first look at one of our quad-blogging buddies and on their front page they have a Voki welcoming readers. So right about now, I've got all the ingredients I planned on plus a few more, but what will be the outcome?

Cue, student teacher. We had a discussion about twitter [she's a non-user!], blogging and google docs. I asked the class to tell her why we use Twitter. Fantastic responses were elicited with no prompting, I imagined my mentor teacher, team leader, parents and ERO all handing out plaudits for the wonderful job I was doing.

Possibly sensing my moment of glory, the blogging team asked if they could create a Voki, so I let them. They instantly re-engaged, had created their avatar in next to no time and had a ball doing it. The teaching moment was assisting them to use HTML code to embed it on the blog Class Blog and Avatar.  So what if its not exactly what I'd planned , but they had expressed their creativity, learned and had fun. They had also taught me some valuable lessons on ownership of the blog and expressing their voice. We've negotiated that their Voki can stay up for 24 hours so they can show their buddies and family, after which we'll create one for the whole class. (I'm now thinking that it might become a changing feature).

I'm not sure what the student teacher thought, but later she was asking about teacher-led blogs and student voice. I love creating the class blog, it's definitely a large workload for a BT but they love seeing their work on it, I'm looking forward to the chaos, innovation and voice that I'm going to see as this journey continues.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Beginning teachers Ignite too!

I must confess, I'm a beginning teacher.

I've been busy on Twitter as a teacher for about 4 months and felt reluctant to out myself as a BT.  I thought I should have been teaching for a few more years and I certainly feel more experienced than a BT in his 2nd year. In another life I have worked as a tutor at university and then taught at a private tertiary institute. When I walked back into a classroom in late 2010 I instantly felt like I was at home and so here I am as a 2nd year BT.

My father always told our family that there were three occupations he didn't want us to be, a lawyer, teacher or policeman. On Saturday a golfing buddy invited me to an Ignite Evening his school was hosting and I took the plunge as a 'lurker'. @MissDSciteacher spoke about the PR problem our profession faces with Novopay, Charter Schools etc and it resonated, look at my father's impression of us. But stop complaining, start acting. @MissDSciteacher started #edchatnz, I've found this so supportive and it has motivated and inspired me the last few months. Next time I go to Ignite I'm going to present because I've got plenty to talk about.

When I spoke to a couple of other teachers I follow through Twitter and told them I was a BT they were so supportive also. What am I worried about? I love my career choice, I've never been so happy (professionally speaking) and am constantly burning the proverbial candle to go to all lengths to engage, motivate and inspire my class.

This blog will be an entertaining ride with a BT who loves ICT, literacy and taking a chance.

I'm a beginning teacher and I'm proud of it.