This week Google celebrates its 19th birthday, and the every-day-is-National-Something-Day calendar notes that it’s National Ancestor Day. So the eternal (and eternally divisive) question of using technology as a teacher, in a way that our early education predecessors could not, floats to the top of my mind.
This week: tech anxiety in planning. Next week: tech in the classroom.
“I don’t know how anyone taught preschool before Pinterest and Amazon and Google!” Every time I say this (and it’s…not entirely infrequent), I feel torn: lucky to have so many resources available, but also…kinda embarrassed.
Ack! What if questioning #teacherlife before Pinterest implies that I’m just lazy, or worse, unimaginative? Ack! Do fewer trips to the library mean I’m not living up to our foreteachers? (is foreteachers even a word?! It is now.) Ack! Am I letting someone else come up with ideas for me! Is my teacher brain shriveling?!
Eventually I stop Ack-ing and I remind myself of a few things:
1) “Lazier” body doesn’t equal lazier mind. My planning may involve visiting fewer locations or fewer in person conversations - and a lot more sitting on my butt in front of a machine - but the fact that there’s less movement required from my body (oh, my poor fingers, so much scrolling!) doesn’t mean my brain isn’t operating at full speed.
And it’s not all sedentary! I may not have to carry stacks of books, but early ed will always be about hands-on learning, and those bags of manipulatives and project materials don’t get any lighter or less bulky! I basically always look like a crazy bag lady…
2) These online tools are modern versions of resources available to our foreteachers (the word is growing on me). They went to school; we go to school. They experimented and gained experienced. Us too. They went to the library; we research too, just not as much with paperback books. They talked to other teachers; we still exchange ideas, we may just never meet each other in person. Lord knows we still put in plenty of hours preparing!
3) Sometimes perhaps I should just shush and be grateful. No, on Amazon I can’t feel the materials before I buy, and yes, I may be missing out on ideas from the good people at Michael’s, and I feel a little guilty for not patronizing local businesses…but for variety and convenience, and midnight shopping, Amazon Prime makes me feel like a lucky duck.
4) A webpage can’t teach my class. No one’s coming up with entire lesson plans for me. I find brilliant ideas on Pinterest (or other awesome blogs!) but it’s inevitable that I will tweak them in one way or another to best apply them in my particular classroom. My students engage in the lesson when I prepare and present it in an engaging way.
5) The kids are the point of all this. Wherever the ideas come from, the end result is my students get a joyous, creative, and effective education.
Dedicated to some of my favorite foreteachers: Mrs. Flannigan (Denise Flannigan, Kindergarten) and Mrs. Nabby (Joan Nabatoff, preschool)
Looking for some joyous, creative, and effective enrichment for your early ed class? Learn more about our pre-k workshops here.
Thanks for reading! Ever doubt yourself? Or have advice for those who do? Leave a comment by clicking on the blue "Comments" link at the very bottom or very top of the post.
Bitty City Players offers theater and science enrichment through after-school programs, in-school workshops, and events for ages 1-10 in NYC.
Learn more about the organization and our team here.