Week Forty-Nine

One of the days at school this week, the electric went out which meant there was no internet and no interactive whiteboards.  I’ve only recently gotten an interactive whiteboard in my room and I wasn’t that bothered about having one in the first place. They kinda annoy me. I can see their benefit for younger kids or for teaching maths because there are a load of good tools on it but I’m still not yet convinced about their use for me in teaching English and Drama. Anyways that’s besides the point. I have one now and so I’ve been spending lots of time swapping resources over and researching new ones to use on it. So yeah it was a bit of a pain in the ass when the electric went out and we couldn’t use it. Luckily I had the Year 7’s in the afternoon and they are easily enough pleased. Plus I worked as a supply teacher for long enough so I’m good at thinking on my feet.

The thing I found most annoying was during my free periods when I was trying to plan for the week ahead. Sure I know what I want to cover during the term but I’m always logging onto the TES site and trying to find new and different resources or new ways to approach the text we are studying. Plus I’m doing several online courses at the minute and it really put a block in my day trying to get things done.

As a person and a teacher I am hugely reliant on technology, and this generation of kids is even more so. I remember the days without having computers or Google to help complete homework. My mum and dad taught for years without having technology to use.

I wonder does technology make us better or worse teachers? I sometimes wonder how I would cope teaching in a remote mountain village in Peru, or in deepest, darkest Africa, with just the basics.  Teachers are meant to be the best resource possible – a fountain of knowledge and inspiration but are we anymore? Does this work in our technological age?

Does technology make us better or worse people for that matter? I am constantly plugged in: my computer is always on, my facebook chat and skype almost always open. I am always available for comment or craic. If I’m out walking I always have my phone or iPod with me. In fact there is very little time when my army of friends and family aren’t with me. That’s a comfort when you are living so far away from home and all familiar things. I do spend a lot of time plugged in but at the same time I’m not afraid to let go and I am capable of spending time writing or reading or just being by myself. I am conscious of the times when I choose not to do this.

In other news this week I went to my first Quinceanos. The idea of spending an evening at a 15 year olds birthday party does seem a little bit weird but here in Mexico, they are a huge deal. It is like a wedding. There’s a big church ceremony and then a huge party afterwards with free food and drink. The whole evening was wonderful and it was so nice to see so many of the kids from school dressed up in their finest gear and dancing the night away. What the evening showed me was just how loved this child was. This is a huge tradition in Mexico, it is the family presenting their daughter to the world. I guess in olden days it would have been presenting her for marriage and it is nice that the tradition still continues (even without the underage marriage part.) During the church ceremony the priest talked a lot about the importance of Christ in her life and letting her be guided by him. And even though I’m not very religious I thought it was very sweet when her mum said, “I hope that Christ will protect your heart.” I remember being 15 and being so unsure and uncertain of everything and so excited by all the adventures coming my way. I do hope that someone protects her heart, because once damaged it can be very hard to regain. Some people never recover from things that happen at a delicate age and watching this young girl, surrounded by all her family I feel fairly sure that if Christ doesn’t protect her heart, the rest of her family will.

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