It’s been a hectic few weeks settling into a classroom routine again. I will admit that my biggest professional challenge is just learning the technology that now accompanies our 21st century learning environment. Students of all ages are using computers, tablets, smart phones and the like in their classrooms and I am WAY behind the times when it comes to utilizing technology in the classroom. As I told the techies in my school, “I know enough about computers to be dangerous!” After their countless trips to train me and try to undo my computer crashes and glitches, they now believe what I say.
Will I ever get it right? *sigh*
I’ve been in a classroom long enough to notice the signs of stress, not in my students per se, although they certainly stress out, but in my colleagues and my friends who teach. There are days that weigh heavily on me and I just feel overwhelmed but something I promised myself I would do is SMILE…a lot.
It happened WAY back when I was the director of my own preschool. Not only did I have the responsibility of being the owner and operator of the preschool I also taught the four year old classes every day. I loved being in the classroom but after a particularly stressful week I was reading a storybook to one little guy who looked up at me and said, “Teacher, you never smile…”
His matter-of-fact statement shocked me. I had fallen victim to a common malady amongst teachers: letting our feelings/stress show on our faces. Oh my! I hugged the little boy and apologized and immediately put a big smile on my face. I didn’t feel like smiling but I smiled because my students needed to see their teacher smile. I did it for the kids!
Teachers, we spend a lot of time preparing our classrooms and lesson planning and organizing fieldtrips etc. etc. etc. but the easiest thing you can do for your students is give them a smile everyday!
Case in point.
I have been teaching a vocabulary, grammar and spelling unit to my junior high students. Admittedly the content is dry. It’s hard to motivate students to find anything remotely “smile-worthy” about conjunctions, adverbs and pronouns so I applaud Weird Al for helping me out this year with his video: Word Crimes. At least my introductory lesson was fun when I shared that video with the class! Yesterday we were trying to wrap our heads around yet another grammatical term and one boy pulled out his iPhone-there’s that new technology again 🙂 and asked “Siri” what the definition of that term was. For those of you who are even more technologically disadvantaged than me: Siri is that little Miss Know-it-all that comes with your smart phone that acts as the voice of all the internet wisdom of the world. Hahahahaha! Definitely being sarcastic here.
Anyway, I immediately put the kibosh on using Siri to look up definitions…I’m still “old school” and think my students should use a good ‘ole fashioned dictionary in book form even. So I said, “I ban Siri from this classroom!” I was probably frowning when I said it. A student piped up immediately, “Are you Siri…ous?”
Okay…I smiled… then I laughed…belly-laughed even. The rest of the class laughed with me and we had a good, but unexpected introduction to the humour of using puns.
One young man commented that it was one of the best language arts classes he had attended all year. I had to agree.
So remember to smile Teacher, and I even recommend laughing out loud in the class. Some days it’s hard to laugh, hard to smile but do it anyway. Smile for the kids! It will make their day and it will make your day too!