Have I Changed?

Paul Bogush talks about how his early networking changed him as a person and subsequently changed him as a teacher. He references a terrific post by James Marshall Crotty, who shares his opinion on the purpose of college in preparing for the future.

I was thinking about both of these topics during a visit to Highland School in Warrenton, VA yesterday, a preliminary visit for a possible position. Questions posed by faculty caused me to reflect upon my own version of the question of change. How have I changed since I began learning and sharing online? How has this changed my teaching? And how does that affect my relationship with students as learners?

Like Paul, I’ve been listening to and connecting with folks for quite a while. These voices and experiences have helped shape me as I listen, read, and watch their work.

I wasn’t as lucky as Crotty who describes his college experience as a chance to “enjoy the life of the mind, to read and discuss the great books of world civilization, to ask deep questions, to fearlessly tackle any subject, to ruthlessly ponder who one is and from where one originated.”¬† For whatever reason, my parents and teachers weren’t able to instill in me a love or passion for much of anything. That came later, when as an adult I realized I do love to learn, and I can tackle subjects seemingly out of my reach.

More than anything, then, I want that for my students. And I am convinced it happens by forging strong  relationships, giving students much opportunity for choice and leadership, and creating authentic learning experiences.

Though I am thinking about working again as someone who supports technology use in the classroom, the joy in the work comes from the relationships with both teachers and students. We have powerful tools at our disposal to connect and learn from one another, but alone they mean nothing.