Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's your job

My brain is slowly kicking back into life after weeks spent marking coursework. This enforced, unpaid slavery to the exam boards has left me resentful and rebellious. It has also caused me to question my role as a teacher. These thought processes have been fed, as usual, by my twitter PLN. At the risk of sounding like an e-stalker Steve Wheeler has once again put in words what I'm struggling to express. In his post A Digital Heretic he uses the metaphor that I find myself using all the time - the little boy in the emperor's new clothes story. Time after time I find myself spluttering at the blatantly obvious stupidity or mind numbing lack of understanding. Maybe it's coming into education in my 40s after a career in banking ( I know - hang my head in shame ) but I am repeatedly gob smacked at how things are done in schools. The disorganisation, the chaos and the lack of planning and forward thinking leave me stunned. Wouldn't last five minutes in industry is another of my ( annoying ) catchphrases. Not keeping my gob shut is no doubt going to cost me dear in the career progression stakes.

And yet, and yet. Before this starts to sound like a slagging off teaching post I have to add that this job makes me think more than any other job ever has and despite the workload gives me more job satisfaction than I ever thought possible. Daily I'm challenged about not only what I do but also why and how I do it. 

In my last post I discussed my concerns about how ICT as a discrete subject is developing. In response Nick Jackson sent me a link to his blog. I need to think further about this post but one phrase that jumped out at me immediately was 'a living contradiction'. I am a firm believer in using ICT to innovate, engage and support higher order thinking skills. And yet as soon as I get a KS4 class in front of me I forget all my principals and instincts and turn into a grade processing factory. And I'm very good at it. I consistently get significant value added scores with the vast majority of my students exceeding their TMGs. I can also console myself with the fact that my online resources allow personalised learning with students working independently at their own pace and achieving to their full potential. I pride myself on the fact that no student leaves my course without a qualification - whatever it takes. Trouble is I can't get the following quote from Peter Druker out of my head 

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

How much are my students actually learning as I process them through the coursework? Have I inspired them or got them to think or helped them to acquire transferable skills? This is not to belittle their achievement or the importance of the qualifications they gain. Just shouldn't there be more to education than this? And why do I leave my principals at the door as soon as the students leave KS3?

And so to the video which gives rise to this post:-

I came across the video a few months ago and it's left me in a quandary ever since. I've considered using it as a starter for CPD sessions but think it may scare and /or put the backs up of less ICT confident teachers.  But what about me? I can be smug in that I use the internet, I've got a Facebook account ( at least for the time being ) and I use Twitter on a daily basis. I'm not scared of technology. But am I preparing my students for the world they are going to live in? Because that's my job.

No comments:

Post a Comment