Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back in the Classroom Again

Last year I started feeling a little disconnected from regular classroom teachers because I was ending my second year as a full-time EdTech specialist at Korea International School, which meant that I had been completely out of the classroom for two years. The classroom is my laboratory, where I experiment and test different hypotheses. Without that environment, I felt that I was loosing touch with what really works in a classroom setting. How can I recommend something that I haven't done in a real class? I approached my IT Coordinator, Ben Summerton (@bensummerton) and explained my frustration and concern. He was very supportive and pointed out the many contributions that I make to the EdTech team and, as a former classroom teacher, he understood exactly why I was feeling the way I was feeling. He asked me how I felt about being in a classroom situation as well as continuing in EdTech. We came up with the proposal that I could teach one 75-minute block class on the rotating high school schedule and budget in 45 minutes for prep time as well. This translated into me being in the classroom two to three times a week with one or two shorter prep periods.

We then pitched it to the high school principal, Don Drake, who was ecstatic to have me in the classroom again in his building. The English department needed some redistribution of class loads and my Creative Writing course would help with that problem. Although it has meant some extra work for me, it has been totally worth it thus far. I'm very happy to be back with students on a regular schedule in an actual teaching role. I am also advising two clubs and still continuing my EdTech duties -- offering PD in the Fish Bowl, supporting teachers with iTunes U course development, supporting the G4 team with an iPad implementation, co-planning and co-teaching lessons, and helping teachers with Schoology. The plate is full, but I'm loving it. It feels great to be respected enough by my administrators to be given an opportunity to explore, change, and grow. Plus, it is great being with students in an elective Creative Writing course that allows us the freedom to explore and learn together.