Thursday, 9 September 2010

Breathe. Count to Ten.

This job can be damned frustrating. At times I feel I'm just not getting through. You know, like when you tell a teacher to close the browser window, pointing at the red "X", and they go and click on a bookmark.  WHY DID YOU DO THAT?? I scream inwardly, trying to hide it, though surely my incredulity must be obvious in my tone of voice.  I try to laugh it off but, after it's happened for the umpteenth time, I get near to pulling my hair out.

I have to remember that technology is so alien to some of these teachers. Some don't have a land-line phone, let alone a cell-phone. Some are in their fifties and sixties and approaching the end of their teaching careers.  Some have next to no English and struggle to understand.  They are actually quite brave coming to me - they are well outside their comfort zones, and they're still trying to learn. Credit where credit's due. I must remember this, when I'm so tempted to shout at them.  I need to try to find ways to communicate the concepts in familiar terms, and I need to take a step backwards to allow time and space for them to make mistakes and to make sense of it all. I must breathe a little! 

Then sometimes there are minor breakthroughs. Like today, when I described Google as a librarian in a vast library of books, and asked the teacher to picture herself asking the librarian to bring her books - what would she ask for? And when the librarian fetched the books she could only see the covers and needed to open them to read the details. Not the best of analogies but she suddenly "got it" and was asking about the English climate (iffy), the whereabouts of Princess Diana's burial (Althorp), how many rooms in Windsor Castle (over 1000!), flowers of Australia (so many!), house sizes in America and more. She still moves the mouse while double-clicking but she's getting there.


  1. You know how much i enjoy reading about learning in different contexts, Clive-in-Sri-Lanka (separate words!) This post is so interesting. This happens in all classrooms, not just the setting you're in. Teachers need to be patient with students who take a long time to get it and be excited by the times when they do!

  2. Thanks Ed! Yes, I'm delighted when they "get it" but patience has been wearing a bit thin recently, I'm aware. I am generally pretty patient - certainly more now than when I started out!

  3. Yes Clive I agree with Ed, it does happen in all classrooms but sharing the feeling with someone else helps too ! Great you have this blog to 'vent' on.
    I like your library analogy - Some of the Commoncraft videos (without the sound or paused a lot -as he speaks too fast for ESL) are great intro to some Tech concepts
    Have you seen them?

  4. Thanks Celia. Yes, see Reasons Why I Blog : 9 : To let off steam!
    Thanks for the link to Commoncraft. Yes, I had seen them, they're great! The speed is a little fast, as you say, and the accent is also a bit tricky for ESL. Nevertheless, they can be useful for reinforcing concepts.
    Thanks for the reminder - I've added the Commoncraft link to my tech resources wiki.
    Actually, I've been thinking about making my own screencapture videos and putting them online. Trouble is, it's quite a lot of effort and I'm not over-confident - I want to capture screen and audio separately to have the option of editing each. Your PLN Final Reflection is great and shows the effectiveness of the medium. Mine won't be so slick but maybe it will be sufficient. We'll see!
    Thanks for the comment!