I have had a few busy days. The mentoring project has been going extremely well. So well that a news reporter came to do a story on my students (http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/independence-high-school-seniors-are-the-first-to-use-mentoring-technology-to-help-chicago-students).
My students have done blogging of their own on iRemix website and began providing feedback to the students in Chicago. I do fear, however, that some teachers looking at this project might overlook how much work it is for me to train the mentors. I think that is
one of the biggest mistakes that a teacher hoping to utilize technology can make: giving students access to technology without thinking about the serious upfront training AND ongoing support.
Before my students were allowed to be on the system, I did many lessons on how to provide feedback, such as how to say "Yes, and." and using positive phrases such as "do something" rather than "don't do something." They had to work on using Google Docs. They did many presentations to get comfortable with interacting with one another. The bottom line is that I have invested in a lot of time and prep work before I let them have access to the wesite because I was hoping to develop my students as positive mentors that they are today.
Technology is great. I absolutely love them. But without a sound pedagogy, it's just a fancy tool. Sometimes it will get in the way of achieving your goal. I am hoping that the teachers who want to implement this project will be cognizant of that.
When I was the Arvin High HOSA coach, I never had a problem asking for money. But for my school, why do I have such a problem asking for money? Two of my cadre members are on GoFund.com, asking for donations to their causes, which are exactly the same as mine. I thought about signing up for an account, then I decided against it. As Emliy Bronte once said, "Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves." But for now, I will stay proud.
As many teachers know, teaching seniors can be tricky. On one hand, senior teachers should help the students achieve their ultimate goal of high school graduation. On the other hand, senior teachers must prepare them to leave high school and join the adulthood. So for the past several months, I have been "hard" on my seniors by giving them zeros and not letting them turn in late work. I hate being that teacher who won't extend the deadline, but I am noticing a trend.
Why is it that the students will not turn in the assignments on time if they realize that the teacher will give extra time? I have been patient. I have been kind. I have even been flexible. But some of my students do not seem to utilize the opportunites given to them correctly. It is so frustrating to see why my students would continue to miss their deadlines.
Having said that, I see now that some of my students are learning a lot of useful skills. They are writing better. They know how to work with others.
I am a mother, wife, and English teacher. I moved from Korean when I was 23 without speaking English. Now I teach English. I want to be an Educational-Neuroscientist when I grow up!