Sunday, September 16, 2007

Obsessions and the Elementary Teacher

This idea has been rolling around in my brain for a while. Forgive me if I can't explain clearly what I am trying to say. But I have begun to realize that I am obsessed with technology. Not just enjoying it, not just utilizing tools, not just embedding it into my classroom. Obsessed. I spend as much waking time as possible online. My family, who also loves technology, often has to tell me to turn off the computer. I dream about technology. I dream about blogs I will write, widgets I will add to my site, tools I want to try out. Even in sleep I am not free. I think about technology when I am not near a computer, planning what to do the next time I am hooked up again. I spent an usual amount of time this summer purchasing a phone that would allow me easy access to the Internet.

So what does this have to do with being an Elementary Teacher?

I started thinking about my last 23 years in education. At first, I obsessed over how to teach: would I be able to manage the class, complete my lessons, keep the children engaged? Then I obsessed about content: do I have enough math manipulatives, did I copy enough maps for our social studies lesson, are all the science materials in the box? Soon I was obsessing about things not in the curriculum: improving staff development, addressing foreign policy in the classroom, teaching environmental awareness, learning more about the political system, coming up with better management systems, teaching other teachers all I have learned.

And now I realize that the rub about being an elementary teacher is that we teach everything. We don't just teach math. If we did, we could focus just on math, meeting with other math teachers, looking at math sites, going to math conferences. We don't just teach social studies. So our focus can't be just on learning GoogleEarth, joining foreign policy boards, watching political documentaries. We are not just tech coordinates, with a focus on all the latest and greatest technologies out there. We do it all.

So each time I find a new obsession, I add it to my classroom and my life. I revisit obsessions from time to time, making sure I stay up to date and in touch with all that's happening in the field. At least as much as I can. After all, I am so consumed by my latest obsession that I really don't have that much time. In fact, I really must go...there's a new site I want to check out.


Christine Southard said...

I'm glad we can obsess about it TOGETHER. BTW, I'm now obsessing about the e-mail invites through the VoiceThread application, if we're going to be able to introduce the wiki tomorrow, and I have visions of student pages floating in my head. If you need any more technology issues to obsess over, I'm only a twit away. :D

Anonymous said...

Smiles --
You know I share your obsession..........

however, I did look obsession up at
~~the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

and then I looked up passion
~~Boundless enthusiasm

Hmmmm, are we obsessed by our passion?!?!

Grins, enjoying the journey with you.


Colleen said...

I've often thought about how difficult it must be for an elementary teacher having to be responsible for so many content areas. On the other hand, you know a little (or a lot) about everything and are much more versatile than someone like me who really only knows about math. I honestly don't think I could do what you do.
Hooray for elementary teachers : )

Mrs.A said...

I think Jen's right. We have a passion for what we do. Although, my family would call is obsession!! I'm glad we all have connected and are sharing and supporting each other.

Samuel said...

I heard very clearly from Temple Grandin's writings that a healthy amount of obsession or fixation helps us stick with things and get them done.

I totally do the same thing you are talking about and I think it is a total gift! Especially, when it can translate out to student learning that was never before possible in the ways the technology allows!

Right on! Nice Post!

Hey, you may want to check out the five PowerPoint books on my blog, if you have any struggling or beginning readers in your inclusion setting!