Middle School Math iPod Touch Blog

Integrating Technology into the Middle School Classroom

Can I get back that new teacher excitement? It’s almost time to start anew! April 29, 2011

   Here it is – the final stretch. As I come to this time of the year, I keep students after school often and try to motivate and encourage them to gain every last bit of review possible before the year-end test. I develop study booklets on each strand of mathematics for review at home and at school. We practice during class and after school trying to push everyone’s understanding of the skills higher. (It sounds a bit like teaching to the test, doesn’t it? I really don’t teach this way the rest of the year, but right now it is review, review, review).  I am doing my best to focus my time and energy on my helping my students, but also realize I have needs too.

    When I work with new teachers, I show them the phases of teacher evolution during the year. Many teachers are familiar with this diagram, “Evolution of a Teacher”, that accompanies the article, The Evolution of a Teacher by Dr. Mark Littleton and Dr. Pam Littleton.

    There are so many teachers who spend a great deal of the time in the disillusioned phase, and not nearly enough in the Rejuvenation or Anticipation Phases.  I am not a new teacher, but I feel myself follow this downward slope of emotions yearly. I don’t believe I am disillusioned nearly as long as this diagram depicts, but certainly January through March are challenging months. Well, I am nearing the end of the year, I am reflecting, and feeling rejuvenated, and I WANT THAT NEW TEACHER FEEL AGAIN! Think of how many “new” things are fabulous. I love that new car smell, the crackling of a new book, and the excitement and joy felt by a new christian just bubbling with enthusiasm. I want that new teacher feeling back!   When I was a new teacher, I didn’t mind as much when students said really “cooky” things just to get some giggles from their friends, because I knew they needed that attention.  New teachers don’t hear as much of the complaining that goes on between other teachers, they don’t notice the “extras” being asked of them because it is all new, and they wake up in middle of the night with fabulous ideas of how to bring the content to their students.

    Teachers are fortunate in that we can start fresh every year. This year I have faced some struggles that have made me feel similar to new teacher, because all of the technology I was using was so new to me. It was wonderful at times, but challenging and disappointing at times. I had to work hard and spend extra hours finding apps, programs and developing lessons that would incorporate technology more effectively in my classroom. Overall I have been successful, but I am in the reflection/rejuvenation phase where I am looking forward to my “new start”. We are fortunate that we can start over each year, and can always aim for this year to better than those in the past. I am hopeful, optimistic and excited about a new start in just a few months and look forward to all the challenges, successes and craziness the new year may hold. It makes me think of that Meg Ryan favorite in “You’ve Got Mail”, “bouquets of sharpened pencils”. I am looking forward to that new teacher experience all over again!

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GAMeSlab at RU offers good videos to help teachers new to using iPods in the classroom. April 22, 2011

What I like about the teaching profession is the collaboration among teachers, because we each have our own, creative ideas. As new teachers, the lack of immediate resources is one of the greatest struggles. When teachers work together, sharing ideas and pedagogy, we all become our best and the students benefit the most.

The GAMes lab at Radford University offers some good videos showing how some teachers are using iPods and iPad in the classroom. Twitter is another resource from some excellent ideas, if you have time to sort through the ideas. Another way of sharing and obtaining resources is through blogs by other educators and technology users. The most important thing is to be creative, reflect on your students’ behaviors and engagement, and build (and keep in contact with) your own PLN and PLC. All teachers need support, but especially new teachers need to know how to survive those first, most difficult years. I hope these suggestions help, especially when you are trying to incorporate technology into your classroom!