You became a teacher to inspire the next generation, to guide students toward their future with patience and wisdom, to be able to go home at the end of the day having accomplished something important. You figured a typical day would include predominantly teaching with the addition of planning lessons, remediating those who were struggling, and differentiating for those who needed a different approach. You’d happily miss lunch to help a child or a colleague.
What you didn’t realize was how much of your time would be spent managing the classroom. That includes tasks like arranging seats, quieting the noisy and energizing the shy, fairly and objectively choosing teams and partners, insuring resources are equally available, filing papers, making time to catch up students who missed a quiz or got sick during it or just couldn’t get to school that day. It didn’t take long to realize these tasks are just as important as how you teach, your depth of knowledge on a subject, your ability to unveil information in multiple ways, and how you scaffold and spiral. At the end of the day, these as a group are a barometer of your ‘teacher effectiveness’. In fact, how well you manage your class decides whether students trust you enough to listen to what you teach.
New Years–a time for rest, rejuvenation and repair. A time to assess life. Do we settle into our routine, enjoy where it’s headed, or is it time to grab our purse, our iPhone, our car keys, and get out of there?
Here are my resolutions this year. Lots of them! This is actually more of a To Do list. I break it down into Fiction (for my novel writing), Non-fiction (for my tech ed writing), Blogs (for my four blogs) and Business (for marketing my myriad of books):
- Rewrite and publish To Hunt a Sub. This tech thriller series uses science to drive the plot. The science is current, not futuristic, with extrapolations on what can be accomplished. The characters are damaged, flawed, and heroic. The plot is fast-paced, non-stop (which I have to work on). At one point almost ten years ago, I called this book completed. Now, I’m glad I took a second look. I like it much better. I’ll be giving you updates over the next few months with a tentative plan to get it out before summer.
- Rewrite the sequel to To Hunt a Sub—Twenty-Four Days. This is the second in the series and plays up the part of my AI Otto in solving mysteries. This, too, I called completed at one point. Then I edited and called it completed. Then my agent offered advice, I made changes and called it completed. Yikes! I’m getting sick of it! This time, I’ll go through it, fix problems, and self-pub! I need to move on. I won’t finish it this year, but I’ll get started, with a planned publication date of mid-next year.
- I attended Richard Bausch’s amazing workshop last year on writing. 2014, I need to find another motivating class to enrich my writing. Any ideas?
I include lots of links for my readers to sites that will help them integrate technology into education. They cover websites on lesson plans, math, keyboarding, classroom management, cloud computer, digital books, teacher resources, free tech resources, and more. On any given day, a third of visitors to Ask a Tech Teacher click through to one of these resources. Which links my readers select tells me a lot about the type of information they’re looking for.
Here’s a list of the top ten sites visitors selected from my blog:
- Structuredlearning.net–lots of teachers are finding books/ebooks here for integrating tech into the classroom. This is where I make mine available.
- abcya.com–a popular site with classroom edutainment
- itunes.apple.com–last year the top click-through was a website. This year, teachers are looking for apps for iPads.
- libraryspot.com–there’s a big uptick in using the internet for research this year over last year
- kids.nationalgeographic.com–still more research. I’m seeing a trend
- bigbrownbear.co.uk/keyboard/–One of my favorite sites to teach K/1 how to type
- DanceMat Typing
- Fact Monster–for research
- Typing Web
- World Almanac for Kids