This phrase appeared in our district Tuesday night Twitter chat #nisdnov8. One of our district’s proactive, tech-savvy administrators @yolanda_wallace signed off saying:
I love walking into a classroom and seeing students engaged and creating relevant product guided by specific learning goals. However, I know many teachers this time of year fall prey or are tempted to slip, allowing knowledge level content games or overuse of “content videos” to fill the instructional time. Often the previous situation is practiced instead of using technology in the last few weeks to revisit skills or objectives that warrant review through student product at the redefinition (SAMR) level to ensure carry over to the next year.
This is a time of year that can be a slippery slope of mediocrity and countdowns to the end of the year. I don’t intend to be harsh, as I enjoy the unstructured pool time that a summer offers. However, there is precious instructional time to be mined. Many schools, such as our district campuses, have access to devices (4:1 on elementary campuses and 1:1 on secondary campuses). Now is the time to take risks, try new platforms, experiment with practices… it is a time to be brave.
I love the perks of an educator’s profession where we have time to enjoy the sun, don’t have to wake every day Monday through Friday to an alarm (except for my administrator friends and those of us facilitating professional learning courses), and can read uninterrupted our favorite novel. However, there is still so much precious time for work to be done. I honestly miss the school time with students during the summer. Seeing those “aha” moments and the exhilaration of crafting meaningful instruction that reaps a great yield is something that feeds my soul.
When I see count-down posts on Twitter or Facebook it saddens me. I don’t think it is intended to send a negative message… after all, it is just a statement of how much we love summer. However, to a parent, community member or student, it makes a statement that school is over, there is no value in the learning that could happen in the next few weeks, and downgrades our profession to a lesser profession. Instead of being recognized as the respected professional educators have worked so hard to elevate and be respected on the same level as a lawyer, doctor or engineer, our caution-less posts become a detriment.
We are educational engineers. We design learning… ALL SCHOOL YEAR LONG. Do as my fellow colleague @yolanda_wallace challenged and “own these last few weeks like a TECH BOSS!” Seize the opportunity, take the risks, and be the boss… send students the message that learning continues to happen for all. In fact, I challenge you to present learning in such a way that it ignites your student’s passion for learning and sends them home for the summer on fire to continue the learning all summer long.