I have straddled the fence for sometime. Not quite sure where my passion is the strongest. Do I work k-12 or move on to higher ed? Having worked in k-12 for the past 13 years I guess the safe bet and most experience is in this realm, but I am always pushing for something more. Then this semester I taught a graduate class at a local college in addition to working in a k-5 building. The course was online and the focus was implementing assistive technology into the classroom. Some of the graduate students were already teachers who had their own classroom.
What I discovered is that I liked both worlds. I spent a good deal of time this year working with a first grade teacher who asked for my help with her autistic students. She needed help engaging them and making their learning meaningful. The dichotomy of beginning learners and students/teachers ready to enter the education field brought new meaning to me.
The first graders were curious and eager to try new things. I would introduce a new tool and they would anxiously want to try it. For example, I suggested using ebooks with the struggling readers during independent reading time. This helped the 1st grade teacher with managing her struggling readers as well as the autistic students who needed more interaction with text. Soon we needed to create an ebook reading schedule for the whole class!
The grad students were a little different. My goal was to introduce tools and let them find ways to integrate them into their teaching. They were a little more reluctant to use them than I thought. In the end, they used the tools such as mindmaps, podcasts, and blogs beautifully. The semester ended and most of the feedback was positive. They were grateful for getting new tools to use in their classroom.
Not sure what the fall will look like. I am ready for anything! What about you, what do you enjoy teaching?
Classroom by cgermano, CC licensed on Flickr
College Seats by Taqi, cc licensed on Flickr