There are times in the classroom when I feel like everything I’m doing is an illusion; an elaborate act that makes it appear to my colleagues that I’m doing a wonderful job imparting my knowledge of all things technical to the students. It’s as if the smoke and mirror show that I put on deceives most, but not all of the teachers, as I stumble through trying to make a meaningful impact on the students I teach.
In reality, I know that I’m just being overly harsh of myself, and in fact there are small examples everyday of students telling me that they’ve been venturing more onto the internet or starting up their own wikis about Hippos (I’m really proud of that one). Some students have even convinced their parents to purchase the typing software we use so that they can practice their touch typing at home. Every so often, teachers will thank me for showing their kids a nifty trick in a word processing program or a helpful website that they can use with their students.
But I still find myself striving to impress the few truly tech-savvy teachers that are in my building, and quite often feel as though I’ve let them down. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of handouts I give the kids (I refuse to go through 2 reams of paper a week for my 800+ students), the limited time that I have with them (only 45 minutes a week), or if I’m just not connected with the students as their homeroom teachers are. Whatever the reason, I’ve noticed that this time of year happens to be my “downtime”; the period of the year when I’m most critical of what I’m doing, despite the impending launch of my Kidpedia project (more on that later), and the 4th graders completing their highly successful Wiki Word Wall project.
So maybe the sense that I’m just just an illusionist is all in my head, but when an 11 year old performs a card trick for you so flawlessly that you honestly have no clue how it was done, it makes you question how effective your own instruction has become versus how well the students are teaching themselves.