It turns out, that sometimes a veteran teacher, a “puffin”, needs some support from a lion.
Just to be clear, I’ll always remain ” a puffin”. As a veteran teacher of English as a foreign language to Deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students, knowing how to fly and swim has been a big advantage. Those qualities along with loving bright colors (my students are certainly “colorful”, in the metaphorical sense!) have enabled me to stay in the profession for so long.
Did you know that I’m beginning my 37th official year as a teacher? Everyone who corresponds with me or follows me online knows me by this picture, taken in Ireland.
However, this “puffin-teacher” lost some of her plumage last year. It was a difficult school year.
(Ok ok, puffins actually lose their colorful beaks in winter, but plumage sounds better..)
I really need that plumage to grow back before the new school year begins. I’ll settle for at least some of it to grow back.
I need the energy to deal with the limited issues I CAN control at school.
Take the issue of attendance. I doubt a lion’s roar will convince students to revert back to their pre-pandemic mindset which didn’t include the assumption that going to school EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL DAY is pointless.
In fact, my supportive lion can’t even growl at the school that is trying to give the students everything that they missed during the pandemic – excursions, trips, lectures, sports days, etc. Those things are important.
He won’t help me figure out (this “miracle” was never included in my training days) how to teach everything required to students without actually meeting them for their theoretically alloted weekly hours…
A big roar here! R-O-A-R!
Since I teach in the format of a learning center, grades 10-12 jumbled together, teaching every level from A-B-C to gifted students at the highest levels, a digital learning management system has always been crucial for me to keep track of who had done what and when. Even if the students hadn’t done the work on the computer itself (some preferred their notebooks) they would mark it in the system.
I had such a system for more than 10 years until it suddenly closed, just before the previous school year began.
It seemed so unfair that the year in which I was turning 60 would be the one in which I had to rely heavily on my memory…
60 may be the new 50 but not when it comes to memory. At least that’s how I feel about it.
Then I met the lions. Up close. Two males and several females. On a safari “big birthday trip”.
Obviously, they brought me luck!
When I returned home, my amazing colleague Riki Klein found the answer to the problem I had been unable to solve – how can a teacher from our school use Google Classroom?
R-O-A-R of joy!
I’ll have a learning management system again!
And since I already know how to use one, I’ve been playing around with programs that integrate with Google Classroom that appear to be included in our deal – it seems we have KAMI!
Kami is a SUPER easy annotating tool, which seems particularly useful for children and struggling students. Not only does it have a clear control panel using symbols, but you can also add voice notes or have it read out text to you!
Those are just the features I’ve learned about so far!
In addition, it has a large amount of fun templates.
Look what I quickly prepared instead of my decades-old “About Me” worksheet! Each student can see what I created and then has a blank copy to make his/her own.
* See the complete picture by clicking below the picture.
This blog isn’t a tech advice blog, explaining how to use a tool after I’ve become an expert at using it. I am also not affiliated with any company nor are there ads on this blog.
I write about being a full-time teacher. This post is about sharing the excitement of having new things to bring into the classroom, that I didn’t have to work for hours to create. Perhaps these are “fireworks” – I can’t yet gauge how often I’ll be using Kami and for which purposes.
But I’m eager to find out.
And that’s the point.
After the last school year, it feels so good to be going back to school with cool tools to be excited about.
This Puffin is quite happy to share space with such a friendly lion!
Excitement is infectious you know.
Have you used Kami? Let me know what you do with it!