When I first started writing historical romances, the internet was accessible…not to me. It took me forever to look up everything I needed to know about horseguard uniform colors, indoor plumbing features and how often servants polished the silverware. I mostly just wrote and cross- referenced with every Jane Austen book.
Then, the internet became accessible. I could not believe how much information was just there. I had to schedule time for “research” because the wealth of information was addictive.
I am really quite happy for how my parents raised me. They raised me to be an independent learner, and they raised me to be intrepid in my quest for knowledge. They taught me that I was limited only by my attitude.
For the first fifteen years of my teaching career, I struggled to instill that sense in my students, that if they had a question, big or small, they could find the answer if only they remained undaunted.
It worked. Sometimes.
Now, for the past…not really even a year, maybe just months, now that my students have unlimited access to the chrome books in my classroom, it is suddenly not a struggle. They have unlimited access to anything. We became a STEM school last year, and we're exploring so much.
I’m excited by how much is possible now. My mind whirls daily with all the possibilities that I am just beginning to understand, and that is only the possibilities that I can comprehend, right now. There are the possibilities that my colleagues and leaders will bring, but the real potential lies within the students.
And that is why I am not afraid. This is an opportunity for them to explore not just knowledge, but hopes and dreams. I do not need to understand every aspect of the tools. I only need to understand how to help them access what they need, and that is not in the mechanics of the tool. It is in the process.
Learning is not an end result. If we’re to develop critical thinkers, then our focus must be on allowing not just them, but us, struggle through the questions. Already, I see such changes in my classroom. Differentiated instruction is much easier, natural and authentic with students able to choose topics, modalities….I could go on.
I wonder what I would have become, as a person, citizen, employee, if I had not made all of those trips to the library, if I didn’t grow up knowing learning was up to me. This might be the time to say that I was a horrible student in Junior high and high school. I just didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I was too busy with all of my library books and my own questions.
And a little about love. I love my job!