Sunday, 01 February 2009 | Comments
2009 will be my fourth year of teaching. There are a few things happening this year that I want to note now, so I can reflect on their outcomes at the end of the year.
This year the first roll-out of the DET Learning Device will be delivered to schools as part of the Digital Education Revolution. I had three major concerns, now two, about this:
1. the massive impact to classroom management. I don’t think that the massive change to teaching and learning that this will force in the classroom has been understood yet.
we’ve noticed a rash of discipline problems related to the laptops… students are down right angry when we ask them to close their computers and complete more traditional assignments, such as taking notes or reading the textbook
What Affects Your Students Ability to Learn? JoeWoodOnline
It’s worth reading more about Joe’s epiphany.
2. secondly, and related to 1., I don’t think teachers will be prepared. Insufficient or superficial professional development will be offered.
3. I was originally concerned that teachers would not get the same laptop as the students to properly prepare lessons. According to the SMH this morning, teachers will get the same laptop as students. This is great and necessary. There is no point having mini-laptops in the hands of students, if teachers cannot prepare and check lessons on the same machine. However, this is not a complete solution for teachers.
Teachers still need a real computer. We only have 5 desktop computers (up from 4 last year) for 9 teachers in our staffroom, which is simply inadequate. A mini-laptop should be in addition to a real computer. A mini-laptop is like giving a construction worker a Tonka truck to move dirt. I continue this rant on my other blog
I work in a smallish school, about 450 students across Years 7-10, with just over 30 teaching staff. Every year there is more to be done – all with the same teaching load. This year, there are formal strategic plans in place for technology, literacy, numeracy, welfare, quality teaching and the environment.
These are all important and worthwhile areas to focus on. But, by spreading everyone thinly across these areas, I fear that only some will be done well.
Some time soon, fingers crossed, I will have a projector and Interactive Whiteboard installed in my classroom. I’m really looking forward to this addition to my classroom. At a minimum I’ll be able to introduce more images, diagrams and video. The desire, though, is to have the students using this tool for investigating and reporting.
On the other hand, my 50 year old classroom could really do with a renovation, at least new tables and chairs – I wish.
I am teaching Information and Software Technology to Year 10 for the first time this year. This is exciting, because it’s a nice change from Maths and I can share my passion for technology, computing and the Internet. It’s a course that could easily be theory based from a textbook. But, I’m looking forward to engaging the students in some interesting projects. Hopefully, I’ll get some ideas to take back into Maths.
No matter how many good things are happening in our school, I continue to be frustrated by how politicians with no real idea can make such substantial changes without regard for the impact. Further, they manage to glorify attending to (well announcing anyway) essential maintenance.
Our school struggles to attract the brightest students from surrounding primary schools due to a perception that there are better alternatives. From my own schooling, I know that perception is not necessarily reality. Yet, parents in our area will foremost choose a private school if money allows them to, then a “better” public school and then us. As two struggling public high schools become selective shortly, this will push us down the list of suitable options for many students. It’s a shame, because there are some brilliant teachers at our school.
The NSW Institute of Teachers is an ongoing source of frustration. I pay a mandatory fee every year to this organisation to receive a newsletter I don’t read. The imposed requirement of 100 hours of professional development in 5 years has not been supported by the NSW DET with budgeted funds. Of those 100 hours, I need to record 50 hours of Institute endorsed PD, so far I have none.
This is a quick view of 2009, some good things happening, but teaching often seems like a struggle with a lack of resources and leadership. Looking past this to concentrate on my own practice this year is one of my aims.
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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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