A Total Reflection

This week I had the honor of being interviewed by a woman named Chana Stiefel. In her initial email to me she wrote the following message:

I’m writing a case study for Yeshiva University about Ed Tech and 21st c schools. I’m hoping I can set up a time to interview you to get the perspective of a teacher who has witnessed the transformation and culture change.

Chana called me Thursday morning and we talked for almost an hour about MJGDS. For me, it was a trip down memory lane.
To begin with she asked me what it was like my first year here, which was also the year that Andrea started here too. We talked about how I, and most everyone else on the faculty, was excited and apprehensive about having our own laptops. I shared with her that I had next to no experience with computers.
We talked about how for the first few years that Andrea was here we had computer classes where Andrea would take out classes and teach skills and do projects with the students.
We then discussed the year that Silvia arrived and how she and Andrea began to transform our school into a modern learning institution.
I reminisced about one of first faculty meetings with Silvia there was an uproar when each faculty and staff member was told they had to have a school email address. It was at that point in my conversation with Chana that I realized how far we have actually come with our school.
Next, Chana asked me what happened when Jon arrived. I reflected back to that time and I said what I had felt three years ago and still feel today. He had and has a vision for our school and we will and are going to be that school.
During the phone call I realized that we are a role model for other schools. We have progressed from being a traditional learning-style school to a modern learning institution and I am so proud to be a part of the transformation that has and is taking place. However, I realized that I can’t just talk the talk. I feel that I need to grow so much more in order to be a “real” member of the modern learning team. So many days I slip back and take the easy way out and assign workbook pages and give “book-made” tests. Once again, I feel like a hypocrite. I must have more than a couple of days a week when I feel that I am really teaching and challenging my students. This is the hard part. It is easy to talk about how wonderful we all are. The difficult part is actually doing it.
I did realize that we have made a lot of headway. At the end of the conversation Chana told me how she was going to write about a fictional school that is trying to transform into a 21st century school and she said something like, “So really all a school needs is a principal who is willing to be on board, a go to person who knows about technology, and classroom blogs.”
I had to laugh and think to myself we HAVE come such a long way from this mindset. It is hard to articulate what’s needed to get where we are today, but as I told her, that’s a start.

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Teacher-Twenty-One

March 2013
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