By Rayna Freedman
Students walk into a classroom, eyes full of wonder. They see computer pods set up and running, enticing their curiosity for how they will be used. Parents have received emails about setting up a Google Drive account for their child. Mobi views, a document camera, and a SMARTboard all sit ready to be powered up for another year of assisting with student learning. Students do not see how hard their teacher worked setting up all the existing technological tools in the classroom.
They do not witness the sweat that pours down as the teacher works tirelessly in a room stifling with heat and humidity in August. They certainly do not see the teacher pull wires out of bags, connect everything, and test it only to realize not everything works as perfectly as it did in June before the year came to a close. Hours could be spent fixing everything so it is ready for that first day when the children come in buzzing with anticipation. That same teacher spent time crafting emails to parents, writing out directions for various tools to be used in the classroom. Time was also spent designing new activities and project based learning opportunities that use technology as a tool to enhance student learning. The teacher also had to create Pearson, IXL, Prodigy, School Center, and BrainPOP accounts for the new students coming in the fall. That same teacher might have paid out of pocket for the new 3D doodler that stands in a makerspace in the classroom that did not exist a year ago.
The student’s experience in the classroom is powerful, but there stands in front of them a man or woman who worked diligently to bring them 21st century learning. There was no magic wand that set everything up, no spoonful of sugar to make it all work seamlessly, and limited assistance in making the learning environment shine and sparkle for that first day. To all those teachers out there who have spent their precious time preparing for a new school year please know every second you put in is worth it! You are making the life of a child better! That is the real spoonful of sugar!
About the Author: Rayna Freedman is beginning her 16th year at the Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, MA. She has taught grades 3-5 and is an ITS. She is also embarking on her doctorate through Northeastern as she hopes to change the field of education some day. Rayna is a member of the MassCUE Board of Directors and has been presenting at the annual conference since 2010. She serves on the DESE Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards Panel and was the North Attleboro Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year in 2011.
For more articles by Ms. Freedman, she is published in Early Childhood Education Today 12th and 13th edition, Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education 2nd edition, and Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education 7th edition.