Where Am I?

Where Am I?This is not a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego challenge.  I’m serious.

After I drove a couple of hours from Lumberton to Selma; the train ran two hours late; the car rental shop had closed, and I had to get a cab to the airport to get a rental; and I drove another couple of hours up to Manassas, it was 10:30 when I got to my hotel room. 

Getting up early in the morning, I found myself entirely disoriented.  I had no frame of reference for where I was — no pavement for traction.  I’m not whining.  It’s a lot like your first few days of school.  You don’t know the kids.  You may not even know what you’re teaching yet (happened to me).  Your materials are not fully collected, organized, or even invented yet. You’re disoriented. 

The only thing you have to go on is your own professional knowledge and experience and the community of educators you work with. 

It’s enough.

I found the bathroom, even in the dark!

6 thoughts on “Where Am I?”

  1. I imagine that is the very same feeling many educators get when they are introduced to technology beyond email, word processing and searching Google. I know I felt a bit the same as I jumped into blogging. How do I make connections? Who is going to read my stuff? Why would they read my writing of all people? Then it hit me… I’m learning too.

    Hope you have your bearings back. If I may make a suggestion… GPS units are invaluable. 🙂

  2. I have a laptop class/24 students grade 6&7 in Darwin Australia. The students own their own laptops and the group could be characterized as a handful of geeks amongst a pocketful of dysfunctional school attendees. I have daily issues with laptop socialdistractional use and at times I would prefer a more edufunctional use, however, all things considered I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been interested in your “gaming” conversations for awhile. One thing I have noticed among my students playing the Halo2 trial is the sheer amount of genuine laughter. While it is a multiplayer virtual LAN game there is a lot of social interaction by way of classroom chatter, primarily negotiating life expectancy and maintaining socially determined playing rules . After a very intense game at lunch time, I expected this very usually argumentative group to carry on but I have found just the opposite. More mutual respect, more cooperative talk, more positive interaction all round. Who would think!

  3. I agree with you, the first days at school are the most difficult days for many teachers and it is worse in places like colleges. College students judge their professors on the way they assert themselves on the first day. Once you lose your students’ trust on the first day, you have to work hard to get the trust back. I think the problem also climaxes when one is an international teacher. International professors who come to teach in America find it difficult because of their accent. Not knowing the kids, having an accent, and probably not having the class syllabus at hand the first day can make an international teacher more disoriented than an American teacher who only have to fight to know the kids. It happened to me when I was teaching English 101 for the first time. I had my syllabus ready and it was on my website and that saved me from getting students to ask me to repeat myself so many times since I have an accent from Africa. Yes, I was disoriented for almost a week as I was learning a lot of American culture. From my experience, I suggest that those who do not do well in class the first day should use more technology, for instance: having the syllabus, outline and daily notes on the website and let the students go through the syllabus and if they have questions about the syllabus, then you can begin the conversation. When the students will be reading the syllabus, as a teacher one should study the mood of the class and figure out where to start from…..that’s the pleasure of having technology in the classroom.

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