I am struck by how different the beginning of this year has been for me. I had to put the ipad on pause and go from table to table today looking students names and their faces. I have to get to know the student behind the device. I have never gone past the first week of school without knowing the names of all my students. I pride myself on that fact, and quite honestly that is more important to their learning and my classroom environment than any of this other stuff. I have not taken the time to greet each student at the door, we have done very little large group discussion, instead it has been device by device set up… I need more face time with my students and I need to give myself permission to have more face time with my students.
Where does that balance lie? What is good use of time on the ipad? Is there a time when it is specifically put down for relationships and social interaction? I got to believe this takes precedence over the constant push to integrate these ipads. I know that balance is coming. I can sense that there are fewer and fewer hangups with individual devices that take me away from being a relational person I just hope it’s not too late.
I have found new ways to create some relationships and sense of belonging in the classroom that are different than last year. This year students were asked to pick their own seats (no assigned seats- part of me giving up my control and honestly there is no perfect seating chart) in tables of 6 students. I told them this is their team for a while and that they should pick team names. I have more reasons for this but perhaps that is a later post. For now this has seemed to work to include some students who might feel a bit more isolated by a teacher and a classroom set up in rows with specific seats that limit the interactions between friends.