Thursday, November 10, 2011

Real Reflections from the Principal turned Teacher

Principal of Zeeland East H.S., Marc VanSoest, traded in his principal hat for one hour a day to get a taste of teaching in a 1:1 iPad U.S. History class. Here are his words to his staff following the experience:

"Last week, I had the opportunity to get back into the classroom in Matt's 3rd Hour US History class. Going into it, I figured I knew what I was doing....I had taught US History for the better part of 8 years previously...and it's not like anything really changes in history. I was dead wrong. I cannot get over the way that little glass and metal device (iPad) changed almost all of my thinking. As I sat to plan the week, I figured I could do a Keynote, watch a movie clip or two on YouTube (it's Social Studies...I had to show a few movie clips...), maybe we'd do a little survey using eClicker, and I'd have them do some .pdf note taking stuff as we went along.

That was all well and good in theory. Then my old Powerpoints didn't translate into Keynote, YouTube blocked a clip, and eClicker didn't work cause the kids and I were on different networks. I even found an app I wanted the 30 students to download. I'm sure that was useful for the 26 of them that were actually able to download it. Frustrating....

Then I remembered something. I was only doing this for one hour, for one week. 5 hours of my life. In other words, one of your teaching days. I wasn't even toiling with this...this thing...for the 25 hours a week you all are doing it.

It's not that I didn't understand that the iPad was changing us. I knew that. What I didn't understand was the profound level of frustration that accompanies its use in the classroom. But having said that...when things work, it's an amazing thing to watch students create, explore, and drive the learning process in new ways."

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