Learning and Legacy

This past weekend I got to talk with my daughter who has been in Papua New Guinea for the last 6 weeks. She excitedly told me how the team she was working with had been helping to input into a computer the translation of part of the New Testament for a tribal group. She spoke of the “legacy” they were leaving as they did this work. Also this past weekend I read this blog that talked about a “legacy of learning.”

I graduated from college 21 years ago. I spent a few years teaching in the states, but really wasn’t sure that was what I wanted to do. I came to Japan for a summer mission trip where I taught English at a church. I came back the following year to teach English full-time at that same church. I did that for 2 years, met my husband and then got married. My husband has 2 daughters who came to live with us in our first year of marriage, we added 3 more children in the next 5 years. I did some English teaching in my home, but didn’t see myself going back into the classroom. I was a full-time mom and loved it. Around 1998, I became fed up with the Japanese school system and wanted to enroll our 3 younger children in an international school. When our youngest,(who graduated last year) began school I applied for a teaching position to help pay the cost of 3 kids in international schooling. I never thought about how much learning/studying I would have to do.

This is my 13th year at the school. When I began I had been out of college for several years and had not continued my learning in the education field. I had no idea of all the changes that had or would take place in the field of education. Since beginning my present teaching position I have attended various workshops and seminars. I remember several years ago when I took off from school to attend a workshop one of the students commented on “You’re going to school!?” And seemed genuinely impressed that the teacher was still learning. My principal commented about how important it was for the students to see each of us as life-long-learners. I know in the field of technology I have only begun to see the tip of the iceberg.

It has been exciting though as I share and others who are attending the cohort share at our PLC. Last week we had 4 articles we were going to read and my principal had suggested writing on chart paper, what we found interesting, disturbing, etc. As I was heading to the meeting, Wednesday morning, I realized that we could do a google doc and have the document for everyone to share. As everyone chose an article to read I created the document. Not having thought things through, I had a document, but not a format, one of the members of the group added a table and we were off. I’m sure it would have been a much better final product if I/we had collaborated beforehand, but it gave a great way to save our thoughts and to be able to go back to them and no one had to type up the minutes of our sharing later. It also showed the others in the group how easy it is to work with a google doc.

I am still in the process of working out what this looks like in my classroom. This past summer, a projector was installed in my classroom which I am trying to use on a regular basis although it is still more for instruction than for students sharing. I know there are many wonderful ideas out there and there are many ways that the tools I’m learning about and learning how to use can enhance my curriculum.

With my students, my colleagues and my own children I want to leave a “legacy of learning.” I was really excited when I sent my PLC an invitation to Diigo and before the morning meeting 2 of my colleagues had signed up. At the meeting everyone got signed up so we can share articles. The next day, the kindergarten teacher set up her own You Tube channel with songs they are learning in kindergarten. Later last week another colleague shared her favorite blog site, which is one I’ve been reading, but it was exciting for her to share.

I am looking forward to learning more from each of the members of the Coetail cohort, my colleagues at school and even my students. I think one thing that really pleases me is that I am trying things on the computer that until a month ago, I would have asked my son or daughter to help me with. Since my youngest graduated and went off to college, I don’t have a digital native in my house I can call on.

3 thoughts on “Learning and Legacy

  1. It’s wonderful that you can continue to learn and tackle the challenges presented by the steep tech learning curve. I see you putting your learning into action every time we meet together. While the younger teachers are more tech-native, you have the unique perspective of seeing the history of education and how far we have come. You have more perspective, in general, and I think that counts for a lot. You can probably be more discerning as to when a tech solution is called for and when a more traditional approach might be more effective. You’re doing a great job, Jean. Thanks for sharing all of your breakthroughs with us!

    • Ruth, thank you for the encouragement and support. This is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint. But together and with others we will keep on pressing on.

  2. Isn’t it great how once you know the tools you can’t help but using them to make things easier? I am similarly working with a grad school research team right now. I am having to decide which tools to spend time teaching others about and which to just leave alone no matter how frustrating it is to know there is a much better way. Thanks for this very personal reflection.

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