This summer I had the opportunity to work with future teachers, the Golden Apple Scholars, part of the Golden Apple Foundation. This is a wonderful four-year program and starts with the student directly out of high school. It is highly competitive, since they live in the dorms either at DePaul or Elmhurst College for four summers they get “professional” teaching from Golden Apple Fellows and networking with each other. As part of the program, they must attend an Illinois School and teach, upon graduation in a school of need for five years. They receive a summer stipend as well as forgiveness on student loans. The students are amazing and extremely talented in so many ways. They attend for five weeks, so due to this commitment I decided that I would not attend any professional growth conferences or present at any conference for myself, aside from the Apple Distinguished Educators conference I am humbly a part of now.
As these conferences are coming and going, I feel a strong desire to still learn, still grow, and still connect. So, did I make the correct decision by staying behind and work with the new future teachers? Surprisingly I have to a bit of yes and bit of no – wishing I was bonding with all my techies. Thank goodness for ustream, so I can see see what is going on at the conferences. Then it got me to thinking – so many of us in the web 2.0 environment get upset with fellow teachers that don’t get it or don’t want to try new technologies. We don’t understand how they can constantly teach year to year the same way, while we move farther and farther into the new direction of education. As we attend these conferences, we connect and feel we are part of the new direction of education. Ironically and sadly many other teachers, stuck in 1990’s, will NOT have that feeling this summer. But, here is my charge to all of us “techies.” We MUST engage ourselves outside our bubble, search out where we can teach those newbies and be involved in the “old” way in order to help others learn the new technologies, and dramatically change our classrooms with new instruction.
So, take and give back – isn’t that the motto of PLN? (Personal Learning Network) Take and give, a state of mind. On going, always there.
BTW the group name?? “Taught” or “taut” no slacking! That IS this group – not a slacker to be found!