Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful for Thoughtful TFA Teachers

I'm thankful for my career! More than anything, the teaching aspect of it. My students are dedicated and committed to learning in and out of my course. I could share many special stories with you, but today I am giving thanks for 6 graduate students of mine who are also TFA (Teach for America) corps members. They are all in my ED 6030 Course: Technology in the Classroom. We have had several insightful discussions together either in small group or through their reflection journals about the challenges they face, especially related to technology resources in their classrooms.

What is Teach for America? I encourage you to visit their website if you have not heard about this inspirational organization: http://www.teachforamerica.org/our-mission.  Teach for America is a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation's most promising future leaders to teach for two or more years in low-income communities throughout America. The organization aspires for these "corps members" to gain the insight and added commitment to tackle the root causes of America's achievement throughout their lives. Rockhurst has developed a partnership with Teach for America, so they may take their graduate level course here to earn a Master of Education Degree and teaching certification in their content area of interest.

Because they serve in low income schools, one of the issues they face is the digital divide: the inequalities individuals, families, schools face due to the lack of information and communication technologies accessible to them. Many students they teach do not have internet access or even a computer at home. Some of their schools do not have internet/wireless access, let alone 'smart' technology.  This may seem surprising in the Kansas City Metro area, but it a reality for these teachers. When presented with the assignment of looking through available grants they could possibly apply for, they quickly realized the roadblocks associated with researching grants for their classrooms. A few of them have found grant possiblities, but others are taking matters into their own hands. They are working with the veteran teachers in their buildings to provide professional development and use the limited resources they currenting have as they seek out other avenues of funding.

Even through their journey of locating resources, the commitment to delivering the best education to their students has been at the forefront. They instantly reflect on if they had the technology tools available to many other schools, how would these tools close the achievement gap and raise achievement in their classrooms?  Always student centered and focused on the achievement of their students, they have written thoughtful reflections such as this one...

  I see my students interact with my iPads [one through ED 6030 and one through TFA] and dream of what they would think of a giant version of this otherwise known as a Smart Board.  However, my students suffer from the school district's frequent overlooking of our school with innovative technologies or software due to the reality that our test scores rest just over district norms.  I do believe . . . that my students deserve the best of the best.  They deserve to have equal access to the great resources that are available and transforming education.  

Teaching is both rewarding and challenging. I am thankful for teachers and future teachers who set their sights on bringing to their classroom the best education they can provide.  I am thankful for those educators who strive to reflect on their practices and improve their teaching each day, with a smile on their face and keeping each of their students learning at heart... with or without technology.

No comments:

Post a Comment