All the time I hear….”Aren’t you so glad you have the summers off?”
Most teachers I know cringe at the question. True, there is not school in the summer, so we are not in the classroom teaching over the summer. But show me one teacher who leaves the very last day of school and doesn’t think about school again until the day school starts and I will show you a teacher who is not improving.
Teachers are lifelong learners. We are constantly trying to be better at our profession. The world around us is constantly changing and we have to prepare those students for the world and the jobs that they will have in 5, 10, 15 years. In fact according to Forbes Jobs of the Future article, states that “In two decades, your job probably won’t exist, at least not in the same form.”
So where does this leave us as teachers? We can’t just teach students what we were taught when we were in school. Doing that would only prepare our students for work in the past. And since time travel technology does not exist, at least not yet, we have to prepare these students for the future. What will those jobs of the future look like? We don’t really know because a large percentage of the jobs that these students will have don’t even exist yet.
Wow….how’s that for heavy? As a teacher I have to prepare my students for jobs that don’t even exist.
So we learn and we pay attention to how the world around use. We are constantly thinking about how this applies to our content. This summer I took at one week vacation and went to Panama City, Florida. My family and I headed to WonderWorks, a museum of sorts. Instead of playing like everyone else, I was intrigued by how I could use the different activities, paintings, rides, in my classroom. Laying on a bed of nails? A 360 degree bike? Water falling up? I spent the first half-hour documenting and taking pictures of things that I thought were interesting so that I could remember these and find a way to bring them into my classroom.
Some I immediately shared through twitter. Others I thought about how I could recreate the activity in my classroom or use the pictures and videos that I took to use as part of my teaching.
Even on my vacation, I was constantly thinking about how everything around relates to my class and how I can incorporate this as demonstrations, lessons, even extra credit into my classroom.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the time the standard professional development time that I spend each summer taking classes and being at conferences. Many times it’s not in my city and I am traveling and spending days and weeks at a time away from my family . Other times its following people on twitter to see what is happening in the world of education, physics, and engineering.
Here is a list of some of the people I follow on twitter, which I’ve found to be a great way to get inspiration and learn more.
Other Science and Education