Too Many Moving Parts

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9 thoughts on “Too Many Moving Parts”

  1. Oh, my gosh. The only thing I do in my classes are PQA, the stories, and novels. Every once in awhile I play a game and I never use the computers. I know I’m probably way behind other teachers with this, but I have two little ones at home and I do almost no planning (mostly backward planning). I can barely stay afloat with what I already do. Eventually I’d like to have a website for my students. I don’t even know what a Promethean board and clickers are-I’m not a classroom Spanish teacher by trade, it just so happened that I needed I job-I had not taken one world languages methodology class-I still haven’t, except for the TCI/TPRS workshops I’ve attended. So, I’m very open to what others have to share on this blog!

  2. Paul,
    I feel your pain. As department chair I funnel all of the messages from the top that we incorporate all of the above and more. (I actually generated a pages-long list several years ago that now needs to be updated since the arrival of the SmartBoard…)

    In some districts, language teachers are fighting to keep a language department, and demonstrating that they are utilizing all of the district’s “advantages” is part of the evaluation process.

    Just since the arrival of the computer (for those of you who do not remember the day that computers did not exist in schools..) we have to add to the teaching day:
    attending to mountains of email, emailing colleagues/admins/parents and filing the results. cleaning up the inbox etc., cleaning out the files of 8,949,394.8 stories, quizzes, etc from the files, locating youtube urls, saving them and updating them, creating PP and SB /Prome. files and maintaining those files, maintaining photo and image files, using and maintaining a gradebook system including keeping up to the second grades, providing copies to students weekly, and posting them to the district-parent access site, understanding the ever-changing “files” jpeg, MP4,,,, utilizing some sort of vocal/aural system ie Dropbox or Google Voice, the ubiquitous clickers, Ipadish devices, designing and implementing the district-required number of student-computer-use-in-the-grant-funded-computer-lab lessons per marking period, using grade-tracking and evaluation systems (and relearning one every 3 years when the district changes systems) and creating written reports about the results, not to mention written reports on exactly how we are using technology for the technology committee. ;o)

    And we are actually a “tech-lite” district compared to others.

    To think that we used to “just” teach.

    with love,

    1. AAAGGHHH!! Teachers are definitely paid way too much with their union salaries, insane benefits and pensions all on the back of the taxpaying man. And they only work 9 months out of the year! You know, in “the private sector”…..

      /\being sarcastic. All of that is insane, Laurie and we actually do all of which you listed.

  3. Too often technology morphs into little more than distraction from good teaching methods and clear thinking. Last week a district technology trainer actually showed us how we could use Ipads in our World Languages classes to project flash cards on the screen (?!). Yesterday’s bad methods updated with the latest lights and whistles! The tacit message was obvious: “You better do it or you just don’t know nuthin’, Luddite!” So misguided I barely know how to respond.

    My uncle, a celebrated professor of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University for more than three decades, liked to say,”I don’t need to know how to build a computer, I just need to know how to use it to do my job better.” God bless uncle Keith. I have held on to that.

    OK, just like dealing with sports/lousy textbooks/constant interruptions/etc., I have to give this boilerplate preemptive blurb: It’s not that I am against _____________ (insert sacred cow here), I just do not want it to distract from my job of teaching the kids.

    1. People love those bells and whistles though! Teacher’s Discovery makes a killing off of flashcards that project onto the SMARTboard, and grammar lessons that you can interact with on the SMARTboard.

      Just look at the conference sessions and workshops that have the most people in them, all the fancy-dancy technology, “fun”, bells and whistles sessions. Just look at all the awesome stuff Realidades comes with nowadays!!! Teachers fall for it hook, line and sinker.

      Speaking of Teachers’ Discovery, they have a TPRS page now–name-TPRS-Catalog . It’s kind of a joke, really…. “here, we’re selling TPRS readers now because we’re hip to the new methods that the ‘cool’ teachers are using, buy our stuff!”

    2. …yesterday’s bad methods updated with the latest lights and whistles….

      Bryce you are eloquent above. Except I think it’s bells and whistles. In reading your comment, I realize even more how what we do (ci), being a right brain/whole brain function, and how what computers/ipads/etc. do (ii, or incomprehensible input), being a left brain analytical function, is really like water and oil.

      Administrators keep pouring on the implications, as per the “tacit message” you mentioned above, that if we don’t get the computer revolution revved up in our classes we will be flagged as not doing our job right.

      I might add, most importantly, that studies conducted so far on the effect of technology in improving test scores in our schools generally show zero gains. I am certain that if we were required to implement a lot of technology in our CI classes, our dramatic gains (why people keep being pulled to TPRS) would evaporate.

      So, to add to Paul and Laurie’s list, we can now add “Administrator Re-education” (as per our category here) to our list of things that we have to do professionally.

      Again, if we do not simplify our discussion here to focus on what we need to do to get better at delivering high quality comprehensible input to our students, then we may end up (many of us are there now) spending our days prioritizing in favor of useless conversations and inept pursuits that take our eyes away from what this site is meant to promote – interesting and meaningful input in the form of listening and reading that causes our students’ minds to be focused on the message and not on the medium for its delivery.

      I am going to take what Paul and Laurie said (others please add more examples so we can realize the enormity of the battle we are fighting) and turn it into a blog post, so we can see what is happening.

      I didn’t even get the study with Beniko Mason done (Paul did in spite of that list he sent) due to this sort of unending distraction, what we call school. I’ve actually been wondering for some time if what we really know is best for our students can actually be done in a school environment bc of nonsense like the ipad fan you describe above.

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