Really interesting post over at Palimpsest redux on complaints in the classroom around blogging.
I think James’ thoughts are well worth your time to read, especially if you’ve ever had to deal with complaints around blog use in the classroom.
His ideas totally reminded me of my parents’ wisdom. To a kid, washing dishes, cleaning up dirty rooms etc, are just plain NOT FUN. In fact, we do anything possible to get out of such things. But I can still hear my Mom’s voice in my head: “Aaron, sometimes you have to do things you don’t like doing because they’re good for you. They’ll help you become a better person. You’ll thank me someday.”
It’s really true. School, on many occasions, has a lot to do with that whole area of learning how to subject yourself and submit yourself to the wisdom of others. You may not like it, you may not enjoy it instantly, but learning the concepts and gaining the experience - in this case blogging - I think is a very vital part of literacy and basic skills that all should have in our digital environment.
I think James’s opinions are very true. It’s frustrating to hear the complaining, but a mark of a great teacher, I think, is to know when to pay attention to student complaints and act accordingly, or to hear the complaint but stick to the guns anyway because this whole experience will be good for you in the future.
James comments on blogging in the classroom that:
“Excitement quickly fades to apathy, and the complaints begin to surface. In my experience, this has been extremely demoralizing. I take it personally, especially since I have spent a great deal of time researching this process and planning it, but my colleagues and my wife all agree in their advice to me: something along the lines of ‘do students complain when you assign an essay? Do you drop it because of those complaints, or do you push through it because you know it is important for their learning…then why are you hesitating now?’ (by the way, I teach high school English, hence the essay ref.).
A big thank you to people who remind me of that fact. These people are willing to remind me that I am a professional, and that students will complain about things, whether they are cool or not. They are also holding me up, in a sense, reminding me that I am a teacher and that my job is to facilitate learning. Sometimes we need those reminders to trust our judgment and go with our instincts (and all that research and planning that helped test those instincts). If it wasn’t for them, I would be pulled down by this apathy.”
Teachers should never be the “sage on the stage” 100% of the time, but there is wisdom there that has you there in the first place.
Good trajectory coaches know when to bump, nudge and influence the direction of their charges don’t they?