I don’t know how I would cope with testing this modern tech for lessons without my two little home grown guinea pigs. I get so excited about tech and love to try everything out and my two children always help me, no matter what they are doing. They are willing to come and log onto various devices, pretend to be my students, sit in different rooms shouting through to me that something is working or not working, be bored rigid by developmental Prezi’s, role play as task participants… you name it they do it.
It’s interesting to see the different perspectives too. If the 14 year old is home and the 20 year old isn’t he might give me his full approval that something is really engaging and fun. The elder one will come home and I’ll try it out on her and she will recommend the odd adjustment or two, often the same bits that the younger one had suggested or approved earlier. It just shows that pitching at the right age group or ability or even knowledge level is important and not an easy thing to get right.
I feel very fortunate to have my own built in little focus group and wonder how much more difficult this teacher training would be without them. My fellow trainees have my every sympathy if they have to go in blind on just a hunch and armed with intensive scrutiny of various theories. I guess it helps that we are all teaching in the lifelong learning sector and we are ourselves adults but even so nowadays that means anyone from 14 years old and upwards and it is a long time since any of us were 14..
If I’m guilty of anything I guess one thing my kids and students have shown me is that I underestimate what young people know. I think I am from an era when we didn’t have access to as much information as young people do nowadays, from a time when the news was something for adults and children remained children longer, protected from what was going on in the world. Kids seem so much more aware nowadays than we did and I think that’s a good thing, it’s just something I have to keep remembering.
It’s not all bad though, you do see a certain satisfaction in the eyes of some students when they shock you with their knowledge, so it’s good for their self confidence. Usually those flashes come from my asking a question I really don’t anticipate them knowing the answer to, it would be far worse if they came from my telling them something they knew already and making them feel patronised.
It’s all good stuff and I’m so grateful to my kids for all they do to encourage and support me in my change of career. It wasn’t easy for them going from having an executive mum with an executive lifestyle to a struggling, stressed student wondering if she had made the right decisions, but they have supported me every single step of the way and I adore them for that…as well as everything else that they are to me.