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MN, United States
Tutor, Business Owner, Technology innovator

Monday, April 15, 2013

Late...hopefully not too late to dinner

I have noticed I haven't blogged in a LONG, long time.  The truth is, I have been caught up in being an adjunct a local college, subbing, and working as an online educational consultant (legal way of saying I'm a teacher, but I get a stipend).

The communication part is something which I have lacked in maintaining; if only I could roll back the clock and share how much I have learned with the students at the college, public school, and online environments.  Each have their characteristics, in their own right.

Let's start at the public school.
I have been subbing for many assignments that span from kindergarten through senior high.  The elementary students require specific attention and guidance from teachers as leaders and adult figures.  I have found that each district I have subbed in (both in Iowa and Minnesota) have their own unique culture, norms, and routines.  Remembering each place's footprint is a real skill (and you do NOT want to confuse one classroom for another).

Middle school, that's where they try to find their identity as young people, can be fun AND a challenge, but that's with any situation. How you succeed in engaging these fine young minds take firm fairness, as well as inspiration to do more than "be cool."  I mentioned last fall about having a long term assignment in the middle school, a developing that culture was fun; at the same time I was glad to let it go--only because I do not consider myself versed in earth science.

High school, they are more mature, have deeper relationships, but can vary GREATLY between districts to their level of appropriateness, autonomy, and attitudes toward learning.  Having a big smile and having a Teddy Roosevelt attitude may get you compliance.  They care more about what you know of their interests (have you asked lately?).  The online students probably have been disregarded by adults before, so it is even more important to share in the cyber world how much interest you have in their education and lives (not TOO much here, you don't need creepy tree house).  I can go on and on, but having a senior this year is getting me prepared for the horizon I am going to see between high school and college.

Speaking of college, this is my maiden voyage so to speak, to teach a block one professional education.  It is different level of leadership I have had to exercise this semester.  The expectations are higher, the students are better behaved, but there is also a lot more work involved in maintaining the flow of learning.  You hear the saying, with great power comes great responsibility; I can now visualize what that means.  What is even more interesting, is how much I can do with less.  What I mean is, it is a two credit class, and the students are probably feeling overwhelmed, but if only I could capture the growth they are going through.  It is nothing compared to the secondary level.

I have taught adults as well, but usually they either want to learn professional development, or they are forced to learn by their administrators.  The latter is unfortunate, because the idea of community learning is rich with so many different talents coming together.

This is longer than I planned, so will leave the rest for next time.

Til I chalk again,

Cory "Mr. Shel" Sheldahl

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