March 26, 2024

Going to professional development sessions is always a good reminder of what it’s like to be a student sitting in class. All day, I just stared at the instructor with a look that said, “What the actual fuck are you on about?” I could tell she understood by the way she spoke directly to me, look me dead in my eyes, while giving instructions.

I appreciate how difficult it is to plan lessons for an entire day. Making it engaging, informative, and practical is a monumental task. There is a lack of continuity when you only meet four times during the school year. How do you give time for updates, teaching, hands-on activities, and speakers all in one day? As a classroom teacher, you can carry things over from one day to the next.

Of course, I didn’t complete the homework that I was assigned on time. Yesterday, I was scrambling to put something together for what I was supposed to have submitted back in December. Could I find the relevant documents? No. Did my notes from the first session make sense? No. Did the online portal make it easier for me to understand what the expectations were? No.

From the jump, today was confusing. I simply couldn’t coalesce everything on my own. I was the student who needed to be told for the umpteenth time what to do. “Yes, you just gave the instructions but I’m still thinking about why the morning break was twenty minutes into the day. Can you please repeat for me what I’m supposed to do until lunch?”

The program that I’m participating in is all about using digital tools to support good pedagogy. While taking notes on my iPad, I got stuck on the idea that all of this would be much easier to do on paper. The UI for the online portal is poorly laid out, the tasks were assigned using the wrong program, and finding information in the group chat is impossible. I get frustrated simply looking for the information and it’s not laid out in a way that I can process easily when I do find it.

But, that’s how I see it. I’m sure that whoever designed the assignments and put together the tools did so in a way that makes sense to them. They look at it and see exactly what they need to. I do the same when I put together handouts and assignments for my students. Their misunderstanding confuses me. “It’s obvious! It’s written right there. No, there. How many different ways can I share this information with you so that you’ll get it?” Who, though, really, can follow a group chat?






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