Holy crap, what have I gotten myself into?
I can’t say no. I should be able to. I’m 51 freaking years old. But I can’t.
I was asked to teach another technology class, a sixth-grade one, to go with the seventh and eighth-grade ones that I taught last year for the first time.
So, I agreed, because, what else am I going to say? The tech class that I taught was kind of screwed up because the first semester, I taught both my 7th and 8th graders from Code.org’s curriculum. It wasn’t a bad thing, but just new to me. We had interesting conversations and got through some cool stuff.
Then, in the second semester, I got an email from the industrial technology teacher saying he taught the same stuff from Code.org that I taught in the first semester. He realized this when the students he had told him, “We did this with Mr. J.” Then, my students said, “We did this with Mr. S.”
So, I dug and scrounged and came up with some cool stuff off of Google along with a few other activities and we made it work. As the semester progressed, I started planning for next year. If the industrial tech teacher was doing Code.org materials, what kinds of things could I do? Well, what do you know, I did find something! Our state has a great network of educational consults that work with school districts. A group wrote for technology grants and they were awarded grants to help teachers with computer science work in their classrooms!
Thus, today, I am a being a learner. And man, am I in over my head?!? I’m working with the programing language Python, which has been around for a while. Our teachers (college students) are very knowledgeable, but wow, they are FLYING through the information, leaving ME (and others) in the dust. We had 90 minutes in class to practice and look at activities, which was MUCH appreciated. My head ached by the time I was done with that time, but I started to feel better about what I would be teaching.
It just got me thinking about school and what we do as teachers. If I, as an adult learner, am feeling this after ONE day, how do my students feel about 10 days? 100 days? How can I as a teacher help those students who are looking at me thinking, “Slow down, Mr. J!”
I have class tomorrow, Friday, and next Friday as well. I am excited to keep learning, yet, processing through how to make all of this meaningful to my students. It was a battle to help students create that meaning for themselves this year. My plan is better, which will help, but I think the content will help as well. I may add in another computer science class as well, which will only help.
And last week, we did a little camping too. All work and no play makes us dull and boring (and burnt out).
We can’t have that at all, can we?? 🙂