I had lunch the other day with an old colleague that I hadn’t seen in awhile. When she heard that I had left the fourth grade classroom for higher education, her response was: “UGH – That sounds like a lot of papers to grade!”
I suppose, if you consider a very traditional lecture style college course made up of 60+ twenty-somethings listening to a professor drone in a ‘Charlie Brown style’ monotone, grading stacks of essays might come to mind. But this is not what my work is comprised of. My work takes me into classrooms and brings me alongside amazing teachers striving to build on what they know to affect change for their students. This rarely takes shape in the form of a written essay for me to read and ‘grade’ – although ongoing written and video reflection is a key ingredient to their success. Instead, my students’ work is always unique – adapted to their interests, experiences, and most importantly – the needs of their students. My students are reflective by nature, inquisitive and growth oriented – in fact, they are much like my former fourth graders in that way.
Facilitating our course is like continuous professional development for me because my students teach me so many cool things. Today I learned all about EdCanvas/Blendspace from interacting with an online learning experience that one of my students created for her third graders. Another student taught Emily Gannon (@TheEdSandbox) and I about Augmented Reality in a way that we could never have gleaned from reading a stack of essays. I love learning alongside my students – They have the bravery to ‘cannonball in’ (a tag line I stole from @TaraMartinEDU) and this makes me so so happy.