So - we put in a TLLP (Teachers Leading and Learning Partnership) proposal to the Ontario Ministry of Education, back in November, 2011. The lead teacher had gotten funding for a somewhat similar project last year, so she has all the necessary language. This is a colossal project - we asked for 5 class sets of iPads, to be used in math classes - transitional math classes. When the committee contacted us in February, they wanted us to clarify the expenditure. We debated - do we stick to the 5 class sets request - kind of a "Go Big or Go Home" attitude? or - do we cut it down and if so, how? After some debate we decided to cut it down to 2 class sets (+++) of iPads. One would go to one of our feeder schools and the other would be at our school. After a month - six weeks of waiting, we found out that we had been successful!!! Leanne (the Lead teacher) and I were/are ecstatic. And scared.... how are we going to proceed? What all do we have to do to implement 60 iPads in 2 classrooms? Yikes!
I'm going to use this blog space to chronicle our journey. I'm not sure how often I will be able to do this or how often I should blog about our experiences. I'm still trying to figure that out. Who could imagine such an adventure at this point in my career? Wooohoooo!
Friday, 9 March 2012
This week was a "full moon" week at school. This phenomenon, added to it being the week before March Break, when progress reports and IEP's were due for teachers and tests and assignments due for students, made for a rather stressful environment.
So what about establishing relationships? How important is it? I think it’s probably THE most important aspect of teaching. So, this week when a teacher was having an issue with a student and came to me to ask about him, I told her I’d speak to him. When I did, I discovered that he couldn’t stand the class or the teacher. He couldn’t drop the course; there wasn’t another teacher teaching the course – what to do? He was game for a ‘fireside chat’ between them, with me as ‘hostess’. I have to admit I was shocked when the teacher was not so enthusiastic about such a conversation. I had to ask myself – why? Why didn’t she want to repair the relationship? Why didn’t she want to model grown up behavior – when something or someone bothers you, or you perceive an offense, confront it head on. At least then you know why and can act/react from an informed perspective. Besides the obvious, immediate questions that come to mind, such as: what IS she doing in class? Is her dislike of this student undeniable and overt? I’m asking myself – why doesn’t she see this as important? And she stated that it isn’t important to her. It was very revelatory to me. I think maybe I’m arrogant – every teacher thinks relationships are important, right? There IS no other way to think, right? Clearly, I’m narrow-minded here. So, although she did acquiesce, and DID have the conversation with the student, she didn’t believe it was necessary or important. She felt she was ‘coddling’ him. I was saddened. During this conversation, she told him he was a leader in the class; that he was doing well; that he was a ‘star’ and she counted on him to be an example to others. Although she told me she was merely ‘acting’ sincere.
Okay so – now I’m wondering if this might make a difference in her professional life. She came to me and told me that the next class, after the convo, the student was busy helping others to do their work, going ‘above and beyond’. HE made the effort, she noticed and attributed it to the talk ….maybe she’ll change her mind for the future? I sure hope so!
I have been rolling around the idea of blogging for the past 2 or 3 months. When I was off work for 7 weeks (5 if you consider that the two week Christmas break was in there) with a broken leg, I had to spend my time doing something. So I researched iPads in the classroom - which led me to a kazillion other sites and sounds and bytes and bounds! I've joined PLN's; I've increased my Twitter traffic by about 500% and I've stoked the fires of desiring to get my M.Ed. I barely have time to do RealTime things because I'm online looking for things to do RealTime at school!
So, how am I going to use my blog? I think I'll start by reflecting on my own practice and my days as a teacher. Perhaps as a parent/friend/reader too, but I'm not sure about that - I'll have to see. I certainly don't feel like I want anyone else to read it, at this point. I'm not particularly literary or brilliant, but I do have a lot of experience, good intuition and a passion for teaching, learning and helping others.
I think I'll use this to organize my thoughts and reflections..... hmmmm