Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time Well Spent?

Sometimes I question all the extra hours I put into making things possible in my classroom. Is it really worth it? Does the extra time actually make a difference?

If you read this blog, you are likely an educator and can relate to the hours required after school to get the job done. Likely you spend even more hours than that to do your job well. Because I enjoy most of the things I do for my job, I don't really notice the extra time I put in. I have spent a lot of extra hours lately setting up a number of cyber projects for my students; Classblogmeister, Google Docs, 1001 Flat World Tales and an email exchange with a class in Australia.

My goal in participating in all of these projects was to get my students excited about learning and to give them the opportunity to collaborate and to learn online with others around the world. Being the person I am, I can't just do one project at a time, I have to do a number of things at once. Does anyone else have this problem? You start one project and then you see the connection and possibility in another, and it snowballs from there. After many sleepless nights as of late, I was questionning if it was all worth it.

Today, after finally getting everyone set-up on their accounts over the past few days, I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement of my students as they showed each other how to navigate their way through the programs and applications we were using. They were so excited to try new things and to show each other what they had learned. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I left the school later feeling rewarded for the time I spent setting up our "Cyber School".

Tonight, when I logged into my school Google account to share a document with my students, I noticed that over half my class was online using the chat feature offered through their school Google accounts. Now I know that they would likely be doing this through MSN if they didn't have these accounts, but to see them actually using something school related after hours when they had other options, was very rewarding.

What made my night was when one of my students noticed that I was online and sent me a message that said: "ok.......you are the best teacher on earth!!! Thank you for getting us all connected and stuff."

Funny how you can put so much effort into connecting your students with others around the world, and in the end, they are just as happy to have the chance to be able to connect with each other. After receiving a 'virtual thank you hug' from a student, I guess it really was time well invested.