I've officially lost control of my Computer Science elective class (i.e. learning to program using ALICE). I've never taken a CS or a programming class before in my life, so I thought I could just stay one step ahead of the class by reading through an ALICE textbook and everything would be OK. I could fake it :-)
Well, after much reasoned conclusion (and lack of time..our dishwasher is on the fritz and I've been tasked with the time consuming duty of hand-washing), there is no way I can keep up the charade any longer. So today I bit the bullet and officially announced that the class is smarter than Mr. Jacklin and from here on out, we'd be learning together!
OH, the look on their faces! I got several looks of disbelief. Several, "OMGoodness, did he just say that out loud?" looks. Finally there were those kids who have been past me for quite some time now making video games, interchanging object parts, and generally "owning" ALICE. They looked at me with a gentle smirk, saying with their eyes: "It's about time! Tell us something we didn't already know!" I couldn't snow these kids even if I tried. It was if I was at an AA meeting and just announced, "Hello, I'm Mr. Jacklin and I don't have anything else to teach you about ALICE."
So, to make a long story short, we'll be learning together. I will learn from them as much as they will learn from me. To be honest....it's very liberating and...I'm OK with it. Not being the expert is a position that is quite uncomfortable for me, but it's a posture that we will all take on sooner or later as teachers.
I've come to understand that my role as a teacher is not one of "expert," but one of mentor, facilitator, and leader. These kids aren't "empty vessels" anymore (if they ever were). They have a depth of knowledge in some areas that surpasses mine.
The one area in which I have an advantage over them is that they don't know what to DO with the stuff they know. That's were I come in! As teacher, I can help them order and interpret their world; help them put together the pieces of a chaotic information, knowledge landscape.
Now that...I feel comfortable doing!
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