Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflections on Communicating with Another Teacher

Throughout the semester I have been emailing back and forth with a teacher named Penny Ryder. I would first like to give you some background information about Penny as far as her educational experience. Penny Ryder teaches in the capital city of Australia, Canberra. Penny teaches in a government school system and they have rules for how often they have to move schools. A teacher will stay in their first school for four years, their second for six years, third for eight and then so on. They also have to change grade level, which is referred to as year in Canberra. I believe this is a good rule to have so teachers don't get burned out staying in one location for their entire career. She told me that she loved the diversity of teaching. She said that it stretches her mind and creativity. Penny also likes the fact that she gets to experience the learning alongside her students.

During our conversations I asked Penny what kind of technology does she use as a teacher and does she like the fact that there are so many technological tools. Penny likes the fact that she has access to a lot of different tools and she likes to explore how these tools can make her lessons better. Some of the tools she has access to for her classroom are an interactive whiteboard, four classroom computers, two digital cameras, a flip camcorder, an usb microphone, a class set of calculators, and they have access to the school computer lab one hour a week.

While thinking about technology and how much it has changed over the years, by biggest concern has grown into the fact that technology is going to change my relationship with my students. Therefore, I asked Penny Ryder if she feels that technology has changed the relationship of her and her students her answer was no. The reasons she gave me were because she cannot have online contact with her students, therefore her relationship with them is still face to face. She also told me that her role has a teacher may change due to technology, but she said that she has never seen herself as the "keeper of knowledge," but rather, I see myself as an experienced learner, learning alongside students and sharing the strategies that work.

I also gain some advice from Penny Ryder. She advised me to make a connection with the parents of my students the first time that I meant them. She told me that the key to working with parents was to make a positive start and a good first impression. She also told me to keep in touch with parents every week. In order to do this, she uses email and her blog to contact parents and for parents to contact her. She told me to always remember that if you have bad news to break to a parent to never tell them through email, always call or have a face to face appointment.

If you would like to view Penny Ryders blog, you can visit www.link4learning.blogspot.com or visit www.teachingchallenges.blogspot.com

Also, you can follow Penny on Twitter: pennyryder or Flickr: pennyryder

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