Well, it is a Sunday night, the end of another gloriously sunny weekend in Vancouver B.C. and I am getting ready to go back to school tomorrow. Oh, there is still another two weeks before the students go back, but I am in the midst of the summer institute for LTT at Simon Fraser University. Yes, I have indeed surrendered two precious weeks of my freedom to trudge into a warm school library devoid of air circulation in order to further my own education.
The first week of the summer institute was interesting, albeit shocking in that I was not expecting the amount of homework I recieved. Homework…this is summer school. There’s no homework in summer school (ala Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own). We had to put together presentations, do readings, and prepare our field study, all in the course of one week. I have to admit though that I personally am not the best student. I did my readings, but in class I have Tweetdeck open constantly and like many other’s in the class am updating my Facebook status or responding to comments on a fairly regular basis. I think I have a new-found respect for what many of my students go through on a daily basis and it is for that new perspective that I am thankful. I will go back to work (school) in September with a head full of educational theory, great ideas that I am anxious to try out on unwitting students, and a greater appreciation of the pervasiveness of technology in their lives. It has been a wonderful summer.
On another note, and really what this post was all about, September will bring about the start of my first Field Study in LTT. I have decided to undertake a study of the way in which blogging can be used in the classroom as a vehicle to improve student writing. I have no doubt from reading books and articles from the likes of Alan November http://novemberlearning.com/, Carie Windham http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3010.pdf, and the Meridian journal from North Carolina State http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/win2006/MS_blogs/index.htm. In addition I have also looked at the wiki from Clarkstown Central School District https://calvert.wiki.ccsd.edu/Blogs+in+the+Classroom for ideas and guidance on how to go about implementing my field study. Blog posts by Sue Waters, including this one, http://theedublogger.edublogs.org/2008/04/27/heres-my-first-five-tips-for-writing-better-blog-posts-what-are-yours/ have also been a great help in order to help me structure my English lessons so as to get students prepared to enter the blogsphere.
Nevertheless, I am sure, that like many teachers who are planning on implementing new instructional strategies within their classrooms I find myself constantly questioning what I am doing. What will the parents think? Will they be on-board with this? What will my district administration think, and what are the policies that our district has around this kind of technology? What will my colleagues think? Some of them tend to be protectionist in their use of new technologies. Will they be open to what I am doing, and supportive? And most importantly, what about the students? Will they be on-board with this idea? Will it be a beneficial learning experience for them that will enhance their writing? I am hoping so.
After all, when I ponder this it has to work. I mean my LTT Field Study Plan is due on Wednesday, and then I will be getting everything ready to implement this. If on the first day of school I am told that I am not allowed to undertake this course of inquiry what then? I have to start back at square one, and though I have some other ideas, starting from scratch again is a daunting prospect.
What makes it even more difficult to plan for the whole LTT Field Study process is the situation that I am in regarding my teaching position. Granted, I have a class to teach which is thankfully more than I can say about some people in our program, though this is a result of budget cutbacks etc. and I will not get into that here. Instead my problem is that I have never taught the curriculum/grade level that I will be teaching. Not a big deal you might say, but it is weighing on me in light of the fact that I have to do this field study and will undoubtedly be asked to commit to school functions…requests that will more than likely be politiely declined (not that I want to mind you but I don’t want to burden myself more). So for many reasons I hope that this field study works out….and come the middle of next month I am in calmer waters.
P.S. – This reflection on my field study will be updated periodically on this site, so check back for updates if you are interested.