When someone is taught the joy of learning it becomes a lifelong process that never stops, a process that creates a logical individual. That is the challenge and joy of teaching. – Marva Collins.
I’ve just finished reading a very special copy of Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. My grandmother’s. She passed away suddenly in August in Alberta.
One of her legacies to me is her books. Books about birds & wildflowers. Books about teaching. Books. Books. Books. Of course I had to share with 13 other cousins. But I treasure the ones I received.
Another legacy to me is a love of teaching. Here are a couple of excerpts from a poem Grandma wrote about teaching.
“I want to be a teacher, I want to be a teacher.”
A little girl echoed, many times not a few.
Reading writing and ‘rithmatic,
Some day, some day, would her dreams come true?
Another phone call came, “For a school near by we need a
An overwhelming desire to guide and direct
Some eighty students and teachers three.
And away she went.
Another twenty-five years, a steady routine;
Many changes in format but always the same
Desire to bring satisfaction to each girl and boy,
To help them discover their world of fame,
There were ups and some downs.
Then one day her partner, a man of discernment,
Could see she was weary. “How long could she weather
The demands of life?” He gently suggested,
“Let’s terminate our labors and retire together.
And they did.
And in my bureau drawer there’s a little white box,
A compass, some chalk, erasers, pens, pencils, and other things
They are golden memories of days gone by,
Just the fond remembrances of the teaching career of a maiden
Grandma took every opportunity to teach, even after she retired. In church. Podding peas. Picking raspberries. Pulling weeds. Volunteering at the soup kitchen. She taught us to work, to count, to value time, to be efficient, to be focused, to believe. She taught others her faith. She never stopped being a teacher at heart, even looking for children’s stories in the hospital.
The book, Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul is filled with inspiring stories of teaching and learning too. It reminded me again of teachers’ dedication, commitment, and incredible capacity of caring.
Ok, you say. What does this poignant ramble have to do with videoconferencing?
Ah! We in the role of supporting teachers must never forget the incredible contribution, commitment, and impact potential of teachers. When we respect, appreciate, and empathize with their incredible tasks, then and only then, will we be able to reach them with the latest innovation we want to share.
We must remember to respect their professional judgment about their curriculum and their students. We can’t sell videoconferencing (or any other innovation) “just because it’s great.” If they don’t “jump on the bandwagon” as fast as we might like, maybe we have failed to communicate the value to their curriculum. Maybe they saw us as “the Mary Kay lady in the pink Cadillac” bringing glitz but no substance (as one of my local teachers said to me recently).
School reform leaders often assume that teacher support will always be forthcoming simply because they themselves are convinced of the value of the innovation they are introducing. I found that this definitely was not the case. Teachers have to believe that what they are doing in the classroom has merit. Knowing that they are engaged in a very worthwhile activity, I found that teachers approach their innovative practice with high levels of motivation and determination to sustain it despite the inevitable setbacks and difficulties of implementing any technology-based program. “Sustaining Technology Innovation in the Classroom: What does it take?” Ronald D. Owston, IRLT, York University p. 5.
I’ve been inspired! To continue my search to make my presentations of videoconferencing more effective and filled with clearer examples and stronger reasons to use videoconferencing. To respect and cherish the commitment and dedication of teachers. To be as committed to supporting teachers as they are to impacting their students.