I like my life so much I began to cut down on using technology in the classroom

by Mr. Sheehy

I know I tend toward drama, and I am aware that this may be a dramatic moment, but as the year has gone the way it has, and as I attempt to share many aspects of my teaching here–especially those pertaining to technology–I feel obligated to mention that I am phasing out much of my technology use in the classroom this year. Factors that are influencing this:

  1. Increased difficulty getting my students onto computers
  2. Increased difficulty with tools like Edublogs (though I always hope that this will rebound, I have begun to lose hope. Plus, item #1 makes it crucial that the tools I do rely on work when I go to use them.)

What this means is well known to teachers and I don’t need to rehash the familiar story. I know I could steal the computer lab and sign it out for months at a time, but I am trying to be less selfish than that. I also have found through experience that it is a waste for me to plan hard, etched-in-stone plans too far in advance, because they simply change and all the time I spent planning them is not time I get back. (Thus, I don’t sign up three weeks ahead of time for a 45 minute slot to type an essay, because I never know precisely when my students will be ready to type. Maybe it’s a weakness for me as a teacher, but I am so convinced that my flexibility is a strength that I refuse to change. Isn’t that an ironic way to say it . . .)

Here I am, then, reverting to ways of teaching that help me relax and do my job with less turmoil and needless frustration. Examples: Tomorrow is October 1st and I have not had a single student use a blog, and I don’t have any tangible plans to do so. I still keep my lesson plans on a wiki, but I tossed out the online discussion format that followed a reading assignment because I couldn’t get computers for all my classes. And that multimedia, online method of interacting while reading Elie Wiesel’s Night? I doubt I’ll be doing it. It’s just not worth it, because the effort I expend on it and the tension I build up inside trying to latch onto resources makes me frustrated and tired. And I like my job, and I like my life, and that is no way to live.

So, hello paper and pencil, and hello typing homework. You remind me of when I was in high school 12 years ago, but then–so do the resources available in schools today.

Thanks for reading.

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