Recently Brian Aspinall polled his followers on who will be incorporating coding into their instruction this year. It got me thinking about the hesitation we often see in teachers to embrace the new. I have incorporated coding into my math instruction, but it is not my intention to preach at length on its values for this blog. The truth is that coding is probably not for every teacher or student. Some teachers may say that coding is not their area of expertise and will likely avoid it. I have to ask: What is your area of expertise? Will you find the opportunity to learn alongside your students?
We often suffer from the thinking that teachers need to be all-knowing. Showing vulnerability or not knowing their curriculum or subject is simply not tolerated. We often think that teachers must answer any and all questions. In truth, how many students or parents say “the teacher did not know the answer? How did they become a teacher?”
Teaching is highlighted by moments of success. In broad terms, these moments occur when we set the textbook aside and take a chance on something we know students need. When I have taken chances, I had the most fun in teaching. We have to remember that being a “lifelong learner” is not just a catch phrase. For example, it is well known that coding is a skill that may and should help students in the job market. I can refer to the following statistics from code.org:
- There are currently 583,155 open computing jobs nationwide
- Last year, only 59,764 computer science students graduated into the workforce
With this need, many teachers have called on their interest to incorporate coding into their instruction or to offer coding and robotic clubs.
However, coding is just an example that applies to me. Teachers should take chances in their learning and teaching. They should incorporate tools and techniques without knowing exactly where they are going. Let’s learn alongside our students. What we learned in Teacher’s College 12 years ago is less applicable today, and that textbook is less useful today. It is not acceptable to say we can not teach something that is unfamiliar. In closing, I recall Aviva Dunsiger‘s one-word goal for 2015: “uncomfortable.” Find that area in teaching that inspires you to learn more and to share more. Our mis-steps and uncertainty will lead to success and model risk taking for our kids.
Please let me know the direction you are following, maybe I can join you?