I’m a travelling teacher this year. By travelling, I don’t mean, “the world” but rather, the hallways. I push a cart from class to class teaching Spanish to little ones. I load up my cart so it resembles that of a first class flight attendant, except instead of pretzels and soda, I tote around a stuffed cat named Gloria and burnt sienna crayons.
Once inside a classroom, my lessons typically involve comprehensible input using songs, stories and games. But like anything else, the plan can only be as good as the implementation…and when technology is involved, it can make you or break you.
If you let it.
Some days just signing into the computer or screen in another teacher’s classroom is crippling. “Do I sign out of all the other accounts? Open a new browser? Close all browsers? Shut everything down and count to 10…in Spanish?
Meanwhile, behind me are 16 five- and six-year-olds pining to help. Because they “know EXACTLY what to press.” Shouts of “Señora! I’ll help! I know! Just press THIS button!” Some tech-savvy kiddos rush toward the screen like 20-somethings to a BTS concert.
So when technology attempts to derail my lesson, I first halt the screen rushers, turn to the class and say, “Please don’t help, just let me fail…I can’t succeed if I don’t fail.” While most of the kids glance at each other with the “she IS crazy” look on their faces, they patiently wait for me to noodle through passwords, tabs, or Google Slides, all the while we count in Spanish or sing a song. After a few minutes, the screen turns to blue, Google’s rainbow brightens the room and Voila! We did it!
There was one particular day when my back was to the class during that moment of struggle when the big screen froze, and I tapped like a downy woodpecker everywhere to make it work. Then I heard a quiet boy in the back of the room say,
“Shhh! Don’t help her, let her fail!”
I turned and thanked him, and miraculously, the screen clicked on and service was restored.
All of us, teachers, parents and kids alike have to struggle, fail, struggle more and succeed. As a parent of three teenagers, I need to let them fail, fall, get up and try again. Because right now, we’re all under the same roof and I can still be their safety net if they need me. Succeed, fail, succeed, repeat.
On Faith and Fitness:
Pray, plank, pray, plank, pray.