Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Marvellous Monday (or...Why I Love My Job!)

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs 
Do you ever have one of those days that just flies by, leaving you a wee bit exhausted, but thoroughly happy? It all started with a student saying to me, "When I grow up I want to be a technology teacher, like you." Such a simple statement, but it really stopped me in my tracks and made me think, and I held on to her words throughout the day. What is it that I actually do? I know it's very easy for me to get caught up in the busy-ness of school - there is just so much going on - and often I feel like I'm running from one thing to the next, but as I thought about my whirlwind of a day, and about all of the different experiences I was invited to share with students and teachers, I realised how fortunate I am in my role as a technology coordinator in a primary school. It's been such a great day that I felt compelled to write about it!

So, what did my Monday entail? After our morning assembly, where we share news and celebrate community happenings, I had the first hour of the day set aside to work on the yearbook. As the yearbook club's supervisor, I wanted to check in with the students’ progress using our online editor and ensure that we were on target. As I was reviewing pages, a colleague came in to ask about the possibility of creating a stop motion video of his students drawing, in a presentation similar to an RSA Animate video. While this was an impromptu visit, I was happy to set aside the yearbook and excited to see what we might be able to do. We  pulled out an iPad (I knew our O’ Snap app would work well) and started to prototype possible solutions. After playing with some ideas and materials, we created a mount for the iPad out of duct tape, metre sticks and clamps. I loved visiting his class later on in the morning to see the students drawing in small groups underneath the stations they had built.

After this, I was booked to help a Year 5 class (I have a flexible schedule and teachers book me and/or the Creation Station as needed) to use PixlrX on their Chromebooks. As a part of their How we express ourselves unit, they were learning to manipulate images to create portraits inspired by the work of Andy Warhol. This lesson was followed by a quick briefing during the recess break and a much needed coffee. 

Following the break it was time to help out with the launch of the Year 6 PYP Exhibition. The teachers had invited guests to speak to the students about their passions and how these led to taking action in a variety of ways. My role was to organise a Skype conversation for one of the guests speaking to us from China. I loved hearing the students' questions as they asked about what motivated our speaker to take action and how he dealt with set backs. 

Monday lunch break means Minecraft Club! Always a fun-filled time as children from different year levels come together to play and build. I have learned so much from my students during these club sessions. Lunch is also a time for colleagues to drop in and see me if they need help with anything, and so I had a chance to explore the settings in Spelling City to help troubleshoot an issue and learned a little more about a programme that some of our teachers are using. 

After a quick bite to eat, I was off to a collaborative planning meeting with the Year 4 team to look at possible ways to integrate technology to enhance their current unit. After a quick chat (and a selfie!) I was back upstairs to the Creation Station for a Year 3 class. We are applying what was learned during their simple machines unit to a design challenge using WeDo Lego. Their challenge - to collaboratively build a Mini LegoLand Amusement Park (and I must confess - possibly my most favourite unit of all time!). 

Finally, Mondays after school is Montessori Model United Nations time. I volunteer to coordinate our MMUN team of 11 students from Years 5 - 7. Currently, we are finishing up our position papers on issues ranging from global climate to the rights of peoples to self-determination. For many of our younger students, this is the first time they are having to write using a specific formal style and we are using EasyBib to create our MLA citations.

Some people might read this and think, 'Yeah, you had a busy day. So what? We all do.' And this may be true. But today I really felt the difference our own perspective can have on a day. I could have been busy, just run off my feet and glad for it to come to an end. But, instead, I appreciated each moment and was able to stay present in each of them. How many jobs provide you with a chance to play, build, communicate, collaborate, mentor, learn and have fun all in the course of one day! And so, when I responded to the student who wants to become a technology teacher,  I told her that I think it’s the best job in the world!