Dear Friends in Ward 7:
Before I started teaching in the classroom (I am a Professor of Medical Radiation Sciences at the college level), I never really understood the level of commitment and talent required to be an effective teacher.
And I certainly didn’t appreciate the workload teachers face every day!
From preparing lessons, to grading, to dealing with student issues – not to mention the amount of time it takes to familiarize one’s self with new curriculum – which seems to be constantly evolving.
That is to say, I have a strong respect for our Public School teachers.
Please read my article below that outlines a few of the challenges I see facing teachers in the classroom over the next few years and how I believe they can be addressed.
Public School Trustee Candidate
Ward 7 Hamilton Central Mountain
New Challenges and Opportunities for Public School Teachers
All levels of education are currently in a state of flux.
Programming that was once delivered in person by teachers in the classroom is now being delivered online in a blended format.
The traditional roll of a teacher as a lecturer at the front of the classroom is evolving.
I believe that these changes bring a number of new challenges to the teaching profession, but also a number of exciting new opportunities.
Blended Learning Benefits Students
There are many studies that show that blended learning – a mix of online content and classroom instruction offers many benefits to students.
The reality is that today’s children are used to learning online – so it only makes sense to incorporate online learning into the classroom.
Blended learning also provides teachers with the opportunity to bring lessons from expert instructors into their classrooms – experts that no longer have to be physically present.
This helps to make sure that all students receive an equitable education and can lead to a much deeper level of learning.
Teachers Must Receive Adequate Training To Deliver Online Content
It is unrealistic to simply hand teachers an iPad and expect them to somehow incorporate effective online content into their classroom.
First, we must make sure that teachers are trained in effective ways to incorporate iPads and other communications technology into the curriculum they are responsible to teach.
From my own experience, it would have been very beneficial to receive training on internet research skills – finding reliable sources and how to properly reference online content.
It would have also been very helpful to receive training on how to use iPads and other communications technology beyond simply “Googling for answers”. There are many great blended learning apps out there – but we shouldn’t expect teachers to search them out and figure out how to use them and incorporate them into their classroom all on their own.
Creating Quality Online Content Is Labour Intensive
Another major issue that I found when I started to put together my own blended content for my classes was that it is massively labour intensive.
In fact, I often spent much more time creating video tutorials for my classes than it would have taken to just deliver a lecture in person.
Doing a voice over for a video lesson is much much more difficult than speaking in person – you have to practice quite a bit before you become good at it. You also have to learn how to cut and edit clips, and how to record good video.
Sure, it is not that difficult to slap together a video, but creating quality blended content takes a lot of time – in my experience, a lot more time than is usually budgeted for it.
The other issue that I faced constantly was getting support for the software that I had to use to create my blended content.
I was lucky that my institution was able to provide me with at least a good screen capture program, but I also found myself needing to use my personal computer to run it effectively (a computer that was more powerful than my office computer).
If we want teachers to provide quality electronic content for their students, we have to make sure we give them the time and resources to prepare it properly.
Teaching Is The Highest Form Of Learning
They say that you never really understand something until you have to teach it.
I did not realize how true that statement is until I began teaching.
It is especially true in today’s fast pace society where the curriculum and technology is changing so rapidly.
For teachers, this means that we must constantly learn, and re-learn the curriculum we are expected to teach to our students.
If we want an education system that prepares our students for the rapidly changing world they will find themselves in, we have give our public school teachers the time and resources they need to continuously improve their own skills and education.
Life long learning must be a priority for everyone – teachers and students.
What do you think?
If you are a teacher, I would love to hear from you.
What challenges do you face in your classroom?
What could the public school board do to help you with constantly evolving curriculum and technology in the classroom?
Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
WHAT YOUR NEIGHBOURS SAY ABOUT DAWN DANKO