Almost my entire life, I have wanted to be a teacher, but the definition of what a teacher does has changed. When I graduated with my Bachelors of Science from Kent State in 1998, I thought the teacher’s role was to instruct the students, to be center stage, and to enforce classroom rules. I had no idea how to grade an essay and could speak Spanish better than I could explain it to students.
After I received my Masters in Education in Instructional Technology from Kent in 2002, I saw how technology could be woven into the class. I experimented with posting assignments to Blackboard and tried online games with quia. But I still saw myself as the lead actor, with the students as eager acolytes, just waiting for me to tell them what to learn.
Now, twenty years after I first started teaching, I realize that my role should be more of support, helping students over the bumps of learning for themselves. Technology has advanced from one desktop computer, used by the teacher for creating worksheets, to handheld mobile devices owned by students and a potential for 1 to 1.
Teaching should be about teaching students how to learn for themselves. Like the stage manager, this year I strive to work backstage while my students take the center of my classroom.