For the past seven years, I’ve had one of the best jobs a teacher can ever hope to have. I have been teaching art and photography in a small town high school. The art room was well-equipped when I walked in seven years ago and over the years I have managed to steadily increase my supplies and my student numbers. Classroom management has been almost a non-issue as, I would guess, ~80% of behavioural issues disappear the second students walk in the door. My students loved art and enjoyed being in art class. It was a dream job – a thriving program, a room full of resources and a student body that genuinely liked me.
And I left that dream job this week, incredibly, to move on to something even more exciting…
Starting in September, I will be an Elementary Connected Classroom (ECC) teacher in a grade 4/5 classroom. It’s always been my goal, from my student teacher days, to teach grade five. I love working with students of all ages, but I particularly enjoy students at the grade five level; developmentally they are thinking logically but, for the most part, they’re still children. The age of the students and reaching a career goal are, however, only part of what makes this a dream job.
From what I understand, the Connected Classroom project is a great example of how to use technology to enhance student learning and facilitate teacher collaboration across a school district and between communities. In three separate communities, there is one ‘connected classroom’ equipped with video conferencing equipment, SMARTboards, and 1:1 netbooks for student use. Elluminate software and Moodle platforms are used for teaching and learning. A block of time is scheduled each day for the three classrooms to be connected and actual face-to-face meetings happen several times a year. Teachers collaborate as a team, using all this technology, to bring a group of students together for a shared learning experience unlike anything the district, if not the province or even the country, has ever offered before.
I did have moments of hesitation when I was deciding whether or not to accept the offer and take the job. I love teaching art and photography and my job at the high school has been wonderful. Once I realized that I won’t actually stop teaching art or photography, the hesitation faded away. Art is part of the curriculum I’m expected to teach and I can easily use digital photography to enhance all areas of the curriculum; all the activities I love teaching can be adapted to fit a whole new group of students.
All the information I’m sharing here is my consolidation of various recent conversations and I know I have a lot to learn before I start in September. I haven’t even met face to face with most of the ECC team yet but I’m absolutely ecstatic to get started! It’s a great opportunity and a fantastic teaching job, not to mention how perfect this situation is for the last year of my Master’s research which I’ll also be starting in September…but that’s another post!