[The above heading was inspired by a post during Twitter #edchat 6 Oct.]
It took me a while to let go of control in the classroom. But really, I had to have control before I could let go of it. But then am I really losing control, or just utilising it better?
When I first started teaching Year 10 Commerce I would attempt to have quiet and students would take lots of notes from the board. As I became more comfortable with the class I increasingly used a data projector hooked to my lap-top to show students relevant websites and real-life examples of what we were studying. The first time I borrowed the projector and its bag of cords from the school library a student had to set it up for me. The next two years I taught him Economics, but not being the sharpest tool in the shed, he was bottom of the class. Yet, he was always endearing and we had a good relationship. With the benefit of scaling he scraped a pass in Economics in the HSC. That was 3 years ago. I was at a gig the other night when a drunken voice called, “Hello Mrs Hartley” and we caught up again. The boy who was second last in that Economics class was also with him. It was an embarrassing but nice moment.
But back to technology and teaching. I was rewarded for attempting to use technology in my lessons by being timetabled into computer labs and the more the school installed them the more lab time I was allocated. Now my Commerce classes are always in a computer room. It is an extremely noisy room with lots of different activities occurring. At the end of the term I bought display folders, stuck in a contents page in each (what they should have achieved) and the students printed out their work for themselves and for their parents to take pride in their achievements (required parent sign-off). The students were really excited to see all they had done during the term. There was a real buzz in the classroom, even from the students who were madly trying to catch-up on neglected work. Now I have been on Twitter I know I can probably find a way to do this electronically, paperless.
I mostly guide, rather than teach.
BUT there is a teacher who teaches the same course as me but in an entirely different manner. He is the old chalk ‘n’ talk style but the students sit quietly and adore him, as do I (I don’t know anyone with more grace). I just hope that my noisy classroom teaches skills as well as knowledge and understanding.