Classroom Blogging

This semester, I am doing a three-week interning block in a Grade 7/8 split class.  Coming into the classroom in the middle of the school year has been challenging and learning who the students are in a hurry was one of my top priorities. My teaching partner and I attempted to do an activity that introduced us to the students and them to us.  It was interesting and informative, but quick.  Thinking back now, I do not really remember much of what the students told me and they probably remember less about me.

The idea of Classroom Blogging was first introduced to me in my ECMP355 – Introduction to Computers in Education class at the University of Regina.  I decided that I would give Classroom Blogging a chance and set out to set one up for my class.  The first website I tried to use was edublogs.org and at first glance it appeared perfect.  Unfortunately, as I dug deeper into the site, I realized that many of the features were disabled until you ‘upgraded’ to a better version.  I was only teaching this class for three weeks and decided that it would be worth it to ‘upgrade’.

The next site I found was KidBlog.org. This site was perfect.  It allowed me to set up a classroom blog, monitor the posts and comments done by students, restrict access to the site (which I would use until I had the chance to teach my students about protecting themselves online) and it was all so easy to manage.

During class, I had my students sign in and read their first task (a post which I had written earlier). It instructed students to write their own ‘About Me’ page (the typical ‘starting point’ of any blog).  This was originally meant to simply give students a chance to try blogging, feel out the site and try some different things.  What I didn’t expect was to get such and in-depth look into the lives of my students.  Each ‘About Me’ post was filled with interesting facts about my students and I was able to learn so much more about them then I had in the week that I had already spent with them.

When I start my full-internship next Fall, I plan to use a Classroom Blog from the first day.  Blogging allows students who are quiet in person the opportunity to speak-up through their words. I also love the commenting abilities of a Classroom Blog.  Not only does this allow my as the teacher to provide formative feedback to my students, but also allows them to give constructive feedback to their peers.

If you haven’t tried blogging with your class yet, I highly recommend it.

Happy Blogging!

Why do I want to be a Teacher?

Photo By: Schristia

The road that led me into my decision to become a teacher is one that was/is full of unexpected twists and turns.  When I was nearing graduation from high school, I had been actively involved with my churches youth group and really enjoyed mentoring young people.  This led me to choose taking a Youth Leadership program with the intention of becoming a youth pastor.  My first attempt at post-secondary education did not end all that well (described here), but I still found myself led to work with students. Through a mix of connections and luck, I was able to land a job in Fort Qu’Appelle as an Education Assistant in their high school. This job confirmed that I wanted to work with young people and that I really enjoyed working within the school system.  My past experiences of failure will help (I think) me to connect with students who have always thought they are not ‘good’ at school.  I firmly believe that failure is one of the best teachers and hope to help my students learn through their failures.

Photo By: mlleOO

The first chapter of Becoming a Teacher asks its readers “Why do you want to become a teacher?” and proceeds to list a number of reasons why people choose to become teachers.  One of the exercises in the book shows twelve different reasons why people become teachers and then asks the reader to rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being ‘Very Applicable’ and 5 ‘Not Applicable) as to how relevant these reasons where to their decision to become a teacher. This is how I scored myself:

A Passion for Learning: 1 –I hadn’t thought of this before reading this chapter, but I really do have an extreme passion for learning.  I love having new experiences, seeing new things, and challenging myself to learn something I don’t know. 

Success as a Student: 4 – I had moderate success in high school, but my first experience with post-secondary education ended in failure so I’m not sure this had anything to do with my becoming a teacher.  The success I am currently experiencing, though, affirms that I have made the right choice in a career.

Good Sense of Humour: 5 – Do I have a good sense of humour? That’s really hard question for me to answer.  I guess I think I’m funny at times.  That said, this did not play into my decision making at all.

Positive Attitude Towards Students: 2 – Working as an aide, I loved being able to encourage students who thought they were not ‘smart’ enough to do well in school.  I like interacting with students (even the ones considered ‘trouble-makers’) and love seeing them try their hardest.

Tolerance Towards Others: 5 – Though I would consider myself a very tolerant person, I cannot think of a time I have ever though “Hey… I’m tolerant… I should become a teacher.”

Patience: 3 – This attribute did not play into my choice to become a teacher, but once I had decided to become a teacher, it factored into deciding to be a middle-years (Grades 5,6,7,8) teacher.

Good Verbal and Writing Skills: 4 – I am glad that I have some communication skills, but I think I would have chosen to become a teacher without them.

Appreciation for the Arts: 3 – I like going to the theatre, the symphony, and concerts, but those didn’t play into my choice. I did, however, have amazing experiences with my Drama teachers in Jr. High and High School.

Experiences working with children: 2 – I really like working with young people.  I feel that they bring out some of my best attributes and skills.

Other Teacher’s in the Family: 4 – Though I have other teachers in the family, their choice in a career played very little into my choice to become a teacher.

Encouragement from family members to enter teaching: 1 – The most important people in my life have told me that they think I should be a teacher and I think this played heavily into my choice to become a teacher.

Desire to serve students and the community: 3 – Community is something I want to be able to foster throughout my life, and I think teaching will be an excellent way of helping me to do this.  That said, I didn’t decide to become a teacher specifically because I would get to serve the community and students, but is a perk of my choice.

Photo By: mike@bensalem

Out of the list here, it is pretty clear to me that my choice to become a teacher is most related to my passion for learning and on the encouragement of my family and close friends.  This initial idea is than confirmed and supported by the personality attributes I have and my desire to see growth in young people.  So… I guess that’s why I want to become a teacher.