Sunday, January 27, 2013

Professionals Make Time for Learning #edchat

I was reading a comment on a blog post the other day and it really set me off. The comment boiled down to the same old excuse that I'm just tired of hearing. "I just don't have the time for tech." Of all of the excuses out there, this is the one that drives me up a wall and is the most devastating to students in the classroom.

First, I want to say that I am a High School English teacher. I am busy teaching 5 sections of English that have essays and projects. I'm also a father and a husband. That takes up some time as well. I also write for Edutopia, Smartblogs, my own site and prepare presentations for various groups. I do all of these things in the same 24hr period that everyone else has. I wish I had a TARDIS or a flux capacitor enabled Delorean, but I do not. I find the time because the time needs to be found.

The excuse that there is not enough time to look into new technology and integrate it into the classroom is a lazy excuse. There is time, but priorities must be shifted. I do not play as many video games as I used to because I need to focus on other things. I work on my blog or I read great blogs instead of shooting zombies. It was a tough choice, but my students benefit from it.

I have also integrated technology into my life in such a way that I actually have more free time. That is the part that really burns me. If these "too busy" teachers actually took the time to invest in technology, they would actually save themselves time in the long run. Some time up front will save plenty of time on the back end.

As a professional, "not enough time to learn new things" should not be in the vocabulary. What other profession gets away with ignoring tools that can make their job easier, more efficient and valuable to their clientele? I do not want a doctor to tell me they are using the old methods because it takes too much time to learn the new ones. My dad is a doctor. I grew up watching him be very busy. He constantly had to read and learn for the betterment of himself and for his patients. As teachers, we have a responsibility to be lifelong learners. As part of that, we need to learn about the new tools that are coming out that can help us and the students.

I'm not suggesting that every teacher learn every tool that comes out. That would be impossible. What I am saying is that teachers need to make the time to learn something new and try and use it to make them better at their job and/or improve the learning in the classroom. We cannot allow each other to sit back and make excuses as to why we are not pushing ourselves to be better. "Not enough time" is a phrase that makes all teachers look bad. We need to eliminate that from our vocabulary if we want the respect we deserve.

Lastly, do not end up like Jessie trying to do it all. It's not possible.