So I am one week away from having to put my money where my mouth is. Aside from being a blur the last five months have been the single best learning experience of my life, at the very least since I became a teacher ten or so years ago. When I began to wrap my head around what I’d be doing as a Teacher-Librarian in August I was quite overwhelmed by the number of things that I’d be responsible for and the vast number of things that I’d have to learn. Nonetheless I decided that it was something that I would sink my teeth into, and that eventually I would find the things that I was comfortable with. It turns out that the things that kept me working late into the night where things revolving around technology and how to change the way that we worked in the classroom. There was so much to learn, there is still so much to learn, but I have felt comfortable enough over the last couple of months to being sharing with my colleagues some of the great things that I have learned.
Now though I am approaching the time where I have to start teaching my first scheduled class since this rather large epiphany has overtaken me. Starting next Monday I will be teaching a Social 30-1 (grade 12) class, and I am looking to alter the way I’ve taught for the last few years. Up until I took this job I was lucky enough to teach classes that I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, at many different levels and in many different subject, although Social Studies was always ‘my thing’. Looking back though, I wonder if I was really doing the best for my students. Did I really push them to become something more than they had been when they came into class, or did I simply take the easiest approach to teaching? Now I would be inclined to reflect on my practice and think that I think I could have done better for my students. So now it is time for me to do it again myself, and do it differently. I am aware of the technology that is available (and increasingly aware of some of the technological limitations in using it due to filters and idiotic policies), and I am aware that there is a better way to get students involved in the class.
Starting next Monday I am going to put some of these new thoughts in to action. I have signed up for an Edmodo account, I have been thinking about how to start the class of getting them to think about what it means to be engaged in class instead of having it thrown at them. I think it will be interesting to see their response as I suspect there are more than a few of them that would prefer to just shut their brains off and right whatever I say. In this at least I can helped by the fact that we have implemented a new social studies curriculum that is ‘inquiry’ based. Normally I would be really concerned about the provincial diploma exams at the end of the year, but since this if the first year and no one has really determined what the questions will be like I think it might be a good time to explore. Many would say that you should just look at the curriculum and figure out what the questions are from there, except our previous version had almost 10 (10%) questions based on one catch-all phrase (out of several dozen). Even then it was largely a reading test, and if a student couldn’t read and determine what the argument was it didn’t really matter how much they knew, they would be lucky to get the question right. Based on what I’ve seen of the new exam the same emphasis on reading and determining the ideological perspective of the excerpt have been reinforced even more.
So now it is time for me to put my money where my mouth is, I will probably make mistakes, but in the end that will be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Now where’s that textbook?!?!