Part of my job, a big part of it at that (heck, the entire thing), is dedicated to making teachers feel comfortable with the incorporation of technology into their teaching practices. The more that I have the chance to visit other classrooms, the more great pedagogy and ideas I get to see. Just today, I met with the wood shop teacher at Ontario High School and he made me want to be a student in his shop class. Being a garage woodworker myself (and a lousy one at that), it was fun to learn from him.
The real gem of the day, an #EduWin if you want to call it that, was meeting with 3 Special Education teachers at the same high school. Side note- if you haven't hugged a Special Ed teacher lately, do it. We think we have to put up with shenanigans and have patience, but it pales in comparison to the ongoing nonsense in their rooms (and the IEPs, 504s, testing, BLAAAAHHHHH).
Like I've done a number of times while holding this position, I popped into a classroom during a teacher's prep to check in and just see how things are going. Can I help? Is there anything I can do to make your life easier? Do you have anything cool you want to share? In this case, it was the second question that needed answering, but it was far more than we were expecting.
We sat down and I was able to walk them through an iPad app that our district has purchased called Doceri. If you haven't checked it out yet, do. It's impressive and I'd love to show anyone its amazing capabilities. Lately, I've been doubting a lot of edtech startups, but I firmly believe in this app. We walked through some of the cool features like video creation, sharing slides, adding images, and all of the fun.
In the middle of our impromptu meeting, one of the teachers stopped and said "You know, I would love to have seen you teach". I was floored. All of the flashbacks of the crazy things I did to help my students enjoy math came piling on. But then, thinking about it, this was the same thing. She was getting the same me that stood in front of 185 teenagers every year. She was getting an enthusiastic and passionate person trying to show how life could be better with this new knowledge.
There are still days when I miss the classroom (in fact, it's kind of a 5 day per week ordeal), but I'm beginning to realize that I haven't lost my classroom. It's just gotten a whole lot bigger (like, driving distance bigger), the kids have gotten older (sorry folks, truth), and the content has changed a bit. However, the passion required to show someone a new idea remains the same. If we don't have passionate people teaching others, the message is inevitably watered down, or worse, lost.
Therein I realized... Once a teacher, always a teacher.