I am not a writer, and I am definitely not a blogger. As a student I despised English class and hated to read. I find writing a chore if I am not into it, or do not have a personal reason for doing so. With that said, I think I need to start blogging, not because I want to showcase my mediocre writing to the world, but because I have things to say, and more importantly I have things to learn. I need to reflect on my teaching in order to become better at what I do. I also think I need to make observations about this crazy and complex world of teaching and learning - a way for me to internalize and organize my thoughts.
As an eLearning teacher I try to offer my students opportunities for reflection - to put their learning into perspective for them. I often do this through module consolidations and most of my students participate. The reflections are not for marks and I do not force anyone to complete them, but amazingly, most do. They seem to find real value in completing those consolidations, and so do I. This is me taking a step back and putting my professional practice and learning into perspective.
I wanted to focus my first blog post on two simple words - Thank you.
As an eLearning teacher I work in physical isolation. I do not see my peers daily, I do not have regular face-to-face interactions with my Principal, and I don't walk down to the staff room on my prep to chat and vent with other teachers. I work on my own and grind in out day in and day out. I am motivated, all my live classes are well prepared for, feedback to my students is rich, authentic, and timely. I am always making changes to my courses, always thinking about how I can engage my online students more, and always willing to try new tools and applications to support my daily pedagogy. I do have instant electronic access to any other teacher in my school - via email, discussion threads, phone calls, or synchronous meeting spaces.
What I don't get though, are thank-yous. I'm not talking about thank-yous from my students, not from parents either, because I do get those - when I make calls home, emails out of the blue, at the end and start of semesters - some students and parents will go out of their way to let me know I am appreciated. Unfortunately, I can go weeks without any sort of interaction with my Principal, and I can't tell you the last time I had any sort of interaction with a Superintendent, let alone the last time I saw one in person. I am an employee after all, and even though I am intrinsically motivated to do my job, and do it well, I still need positive feedback. I need to know that those who oversee me, those that make the overriding and guiding decisions in my board value and appreciate what I do. All I ask for is a quick thanks, thank you, we appreciate what you do, you are doing a really great job, you are appreciated.
A Secondary School eLearning Business Studies Teacher in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.