A space to reflect on my readings and musings, scattered and rescattered


What Happened to the Techy Teacher?

When I came back to my school in September, it felt like a foreign place. I schlepped my stuff down the hall to a new classroom and felt displaced. I plundered a teacher desk from another room, jammed boxes of my belongings and old student work in the closets because I don't know how to toss anything out, and then sat down and let myself be maudlin for 10 minutes because my closest teacher friends left and my students had graduated.

On the second day of school I found out that 10th graders throw markers at each other. And spit balls. Really. It's kinda hell. When 6th graders do it, it's annoying. When 10th graders do it, it's infuriating. I started throwing them back--the markers, not the spit balls. I aimed for desks, not heads, but only because I didn't want to get fired.

Amid my highly intellectual musings about how to stop my students from throwing markers at one another (throwing them back doesn't particularly work, by the way), I have been pretending to write a dissertation on technology in the classroom and teaching a graduate class on the social aspects of internet ICTS. Yet, I didn't wheel the laptop cart into my room until December. We were doing test prep. A lot of it. When you live in a state where high stakes tests determine student graduation and prevented some of your beloved former students from graduating and going on to colleges that had admitted them, you worry about the tests--in the sleepless nights sorta way. You teach the test. So that's what we did--September thru December. My students now hate my class and, I'm pretty sure, want to bludgeon me with markers. But, dammit, they can more or less write Critical Lens essays, persuasive listening responses, and can even make a decent pass at literary response though I'm a horrid teacher of literary analysis, mostly because I hate it. (English major rebellion, methinks.)

Anyway, the computers are back in the classroom...4 days a week now and we're all much happier. Students are making CDs of their favorite music accompanied by written sales pitches and personal essays, They might still be groaning that I'm "making them" write a whopping 6 paragraphs, but they're smiling as they select and organize the best songs and design well-thought out album covers to persuade audiences to buy their "mix tapes." More on why this is working later...well, more on whether it works...old assignment for me, new kids to try it out.