Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

What Being A Teacher Is All About

When I left industry to teach, I was more than just a little unsure of the decision.  A friend of mine, who is a teacher, had recommended me as the 'perfect guy' for the position.  However, when I was contacted by the school, I told them I had no desire to teach.  But they asked if I would at least talk to them about it and I agreed.  

Over the next few weeks it became clear to me, or so I thought, that this was the road I was meant to be on.  So, I accepted the job.  In reality, I had no idea what I was in for.  

When I got to Ridgeland in February of 2013, the class was a mess.  I was the third teacher in that class that school year, so the kids were wild, they didn't quite know what they should know in terms of the curriculum, and I really felt that I was in way over my head. 

As part of the job, I was assigned to be the advisor for the Technology Student Association.  I also voluntarily agreed to start a club called the Anime and Video Game Club, after a group of students approached me with the idea.  All of that simply added to the stress of the job.

So, one of the first things I did was to sit down with each student to see where they were at.  Most knew very little that I expected them to know.  Even the simple things had not really been taught to them.  

In my conferences with the students, I asked them each a series of questions to understand who they were as people and what they knew about video production.  It was all pretty basic stuff until one student said that he wanted to work in the video production field and he just seemed to have a passion for the subject, but he was being very neglected because, at that point, the class was being taught by a math teacher.  He wasn't learning what he needed or wanted to know.

He asked me if he could ask me a question and of course I agreed.  He asked me why I had left television, where I had been a director for the last 17 years, to teach.  I didn't really want to give this kid the full story of what all had happened, so I simply said that I had felt led there.  He replied that he felt that God had sent me there just for him.

I was stopped dead in my tracks with his words.  
Any doubts I had about teaching were gone from that point.  I knew I was where I was supposed to be.  

Little by little I was able to bring some structure to the class and as I began actually teaching the students about video production, many of them responded.   

So, that brings me to this week's question.  You know, I have really loved watching the class grow over the last couple of years and watching the students respond to me as a teacher.  

As is normal with video production classes, we typically will record our school's football games.  When I first started I was lucky to have one student stay and help out.  That first year, I think the most help I got was from two students, one that had completed the pathway by the time I got to Ridgeland and the kid I mentioned earlier who said he felt God had put me there just for him.

But, we had a game the other night and after school my room was a hub of activity.  There was so much going on. 

There were a couple of students working on getting microphones ready for the game.  Three others were going over the statistics and notes for the play by play announcers.  Two more were preparing the cameras.  I had two students working on a project for the Anime and Video Game Club on a computer.  I had three students who are in another club entirely using my room, with it's large floor space, to make posters and signs for that night's game.  And there were several others running around helping out where they would.  

I just sat there at my desk watching all of this go on around me and I felt so good knowing that, first, I have given them a place where they can come and work and learn and feel safe and comfortable.  I think that is huge for kids these days.  Second, it felt good to know that in such a short time I have turned that whole program around just by caring for the kids.  It's certainly not because I am a good teacher.  I may one day be a good teacher, but I know that right now I am a long way away from being a truly good, effective teacher on a consistent basis.  These kids are responding to something else, I think.  And finally, to have a group of diverse kids coming together, working together, tells me that if I can do my part, learn to teach effectively, that the future is really bright for my class and these students.

I will wrap up by saying that I hope I teach these students something about video production.  But I don't think that's really the most important part for a lot of these kids.  They just want someone to believe in them, care for them, and love them.  And while I may have a lot to learn in terms of teaching a class, from the looks of things in my room last Friday,  I think the evidence would suggest that I am at the very least doing those things.  And that, I think, is what being a teacher is all about.  


Anonymous said...

It is true that we are not always going to reach all of our students, but....after reading your post. I really feel like your are reaching all of your student in one capacity or another. I think that its wonderful to hear that you are there to turn things around for that program and it sounds like for good! I do believe when one door closes another door opens. I had a similar situation happen to me a little over a year ago. I truly believe I was put in a situation to meet certain people to help and engage them with a wonderful learning experience.

I have to disagree with you....I think you are a GOOD teacher. I don't think that we are always going to be on our "A" game everyday. We have off days just like everyone else. There have been a couple of things that I have tried that have crashed and burned already and then there have been some really home run days. I still think even on the crash and burn days I did get through to some of them. You have gotten through a HUGE group of yours. If they are coming into your classroom wanting to work on their projects and work assignments, it because of you and they are looking for your approval because your approval means something to them. Not only approval ,but your knowledge of the video production business. I am sure that you have shared with them some of your real life experiences and they know you know your stuff. So, they are for your advice as well. You have such a great personality. I can really seeing you making great connections with your students.
What a GREAT Friday it must have been for you!

SuperwomanII now said...

I know it must have felt great seeing all that activity going on and the acticipation from the students. It is breath taking. The impact we have on these students are tremendous. We have to take our jobs seriously each and every day. We are strategically constructing, planning and building the future.

I am glad to hear that you made the connection. I look forward to hearing about many more fantastic, motivating, and inspiring moments from our classes.