After developing a nice workflow over the past few weeks in creating and responding to posts for the #youredustory challenge, it all fell apart for me last week. I made the decision to change internet\telecommunication providers which resulted in some issues with our phone line. Given they could only send a technician during business hours (when I happen to be at work!) I had to make arrangements for them to be able to get into my house to make the repairs. Juggling the repairs meant a wait and going without the internet at home for a week.
That was a long week.
Being disconnected made me realise how much of what I do both professional and personal now revolves around being online.
Being without a connection made me also made me more aware of how much ‘work’ I casually do at home. My computer rarely gets turned off. I often will sit down and clean out some emails, check twitter or facebook, read some articles someone has forwarded to me. I liked being able to ‘dip in’ when it suited me or I wanted a distraction from something else.
During that week I found myself staying back at work (where I had internet access) to catch up on these things. I was far more efficient during this time – after all, I wanted to get home. I didn’t have time to get lost and absorbed in what I was doing.
Even simple things like the running of the household relied on internet connection – I had bills sitting on my desk at home that needed payment. How did people pay bills before internet banking? I don’t think I’ve ever paid a bill any other way. I went to go and watch something on our Apple TV and later remembered that I couldn’t do that either.
Fortunately, I still had internet on my mobile phone and iPad which kept me connected to friends and my PLN via facebook and twitter, but I was conscious of the amount of data I would be using up on my plan. And I’m still one of those people that likes to do “real work” on a computer.
So, my week of disconnection taught me how much I have come to rely on the Internet as a tool; I would now consider it an essential service like electricity or water. It made me more aware of how I like to work. It made me conscious of how much of my life now lives online.
So with my connection now restored, it’s back to work for me.
Initially I thought this would be easy; just think of this as a dictionary definition. Something along the lines of “the acquisition of new knowledge and skills”. That seemed to easy. A little too easy. How could something that seems so complex be summed up in just a few words?
Luke* hated writing. He would be the first to give up and would then behave in a way that distracted other students from their learning and require intervention from the teacher.
Working with Luke to develop his skill as a writer was slow and painstaking work. In the beginning, he would tell me his ideas and I would madly try and keep up with him and get them down on to the page. After writing a paragraph, we would read back over his work. It took some convincing for him to believe it was his work; after all I was the one that had done all of the ‘writing’. “But they’re your ideas” I would tell him. “I didn’t come up with any of that.”
“Writing” by Rubin Starset. Used under a Creative Commons Licence 2.0
As his self confidence increased, we would alternate. Luke would start off and I would write down his ideas. After three sentences we would then swap the pen and he would take over the task of writing. Three sentences became two, and then two became one. I would sit with him as he went about his writing. Keeping him on task and reminding him that he could do it.
We used planning templates to record and organise his ideas and to remind him of what he needed to do next. We would use the computer to take the focus away from handwriting and instead focus on completion. Occasionally he would slip back and we’d need to go back a few steps to get him back on track again.
I can’t remember when I happened but I remember Luke handing me a piece of published writing. It was a persuasive piece that he typed it up on the computer. I remember seeing the pride that he had in himself; the smile that was beaming from his face. Here was a boy that less than six months ago was so disengaged and wouldn’t write a sentence handing me a page of writing that he had written and published himself.
I looked down at his work and also noticed that I had goosebumps down my arm. I could feel my eyes begin to water. I remember thinking to myself how lucky I am to be in this profession they call teaching. That I get to do this…. and get paid for doing it.
It is the moments like these that are the best thing about my job.
*Not his real name.
This post is the fourth in a series as part of the #youredustory challenge. For more informationvisit their website.