What is normal in teacher's role?

This week I have two times classroom teaching, normally only online teaching (working, facilitating). I notice that I have alienated from classrooms, I wonder why adult people must be in a classroom at a certain time. The other period begun at 8:00 o’clock(or it should, only one was present at that time, and me if course).

While working as online teacher I am totally free. I prefer asynchronous methods – adult students need freedom like me. No alarm clocks no time hunting, no hurry to any place, no voice using. But most students say that meetings in classrooms are important and it is necessary to see each other. I meet them online. Is this a guestion of learning, changing habits or is it in personality? I am introvert and need my own pace, I like slow working and peaceful thinking (or I am simply lazy). Some teachers don’t want to leave classrooms because they want to be in front of their pupils. (Institution stays, we have buildings and curriculums, this is not a psychological case at all).

Anyway, my first teaching period is over and I liked it. Students were experienced teachers who wanted to develop their online teaching, materials and pedagogy. We met in a computer class- I had prepared links to Second Life and we discussed about possibilities in using it, and problems of course. Then I showed my Finnish blog that focuses on online teaching, I have got an community around it. It was useful to me and to others because there took the space, I was one of participants and I had experiences to share and I wanted to share. Not bad, not at all. But it was not nice to wake up early and be at their school 8:00 am.

Tomorrow I have a group of young adults who have begun studies in educational sciences. Their program consists of  three classroom periods and this is the last one. I have last two hours. My online course begun in June, there are many assigments, questionnaires for refreshing their own thoughts, poems, aforisms, and recommedations about scientific books of course. Some case (material in internet) and optional assigments (movies, novels) and self assessment in the end. Students write a learning diary (blog) continually.

25% have done all and they liked the freedom: I forced them to build up their assigments, I gave only material to use (and freedom to use almost what ever). In the beginning they were embarrased, but after studyind they are very content. They have understood why they have to choose. I followed their blogs and answered at once if they had questions. Sometimes I felt that support was needed and so I gave it.

My subject is educational and developmental psychology. I think that becoming conscious about oneself (a little) is the focus. They practice reading and writing and correct citations, and that is OK but I hope that they connect their experiences and observations  with readings. I do not like copies of any kind.

The last 75 % of my students have done only some simple tasks or nothing. I they are present I should help them, and how? I ask students to tell each other what they have found and I tell how I see ‘sensemaking in psychology’. What is my role as a teacher? I want to meet the students, really. They tell in their blogs feedback about meetings, they tell what touched and why (serious things cannot be said aloud at once).

I respect my students and trust that they can study and want to study. If some cancel, it is not my problem – they have something that is more important, they cannot take to time. I want to encourage, I must be sensible to unsure … I must be myself and now I have to go to sleep that I am not tired tomorrov.

3 thoughts on “What is normal in teacher's role?

  1. It is clear that giving students a chance to personalize their education, is something that might more easily be accomplished in an online course, where ready access to a world of information and ideas is but a click away.

    Beginning in another 8 weeks or so, I’ll be back in my e-learning classroom, working with classroom teachers. As much as I will work to engage students in getting out of the course what they want/need; I hope that I’m successful in leading them to forge meaningful connections with the others in the course. From my viewpoint, this is one thing that hasn’t yet been consciously built into the CCK08 course.

  2. Thanks for your comment (I admire your blog)

    Online socialization is important and I didn’t succeed in it with my students, I should have used more time to it. I like this Gilly Salmon’s model
    http://www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml

    My teaching just ended and the students said that I should have one total day in a classroom with them.. but I prefer online teaching.. they want to come to school, they feel themselves free when they come here! I have to consider that, what is important?

  3. I read your post with great interests.

    Conducting on-line training for teachers could be a huge challenge.

    In 2006, when I attended a 12 week Communication using online technologies, I attended the first few face-to-face sessions in the computer lab. I prefer to interact with my facilitator and other teachers face to face during the initial stages, where I could practice and ask questions with each other. It suited me better at that time as I was new to some of the on-line technologies. However, once I have understood the basics, I was able to practice the advanced features myself at my own time. By now, I find it much easier to communicate on-line with the LMS, blogs, wikis etc. And I like it because I have more space, time and control to write up posts or respond to posts in forum or blogs.

    So, I think on-line courses could be a challenge to some teachers at the start of the course. But once they are accustomed to the basics, then it wouldn’t be too difficult.

    Relating to on-line socialisation, it’s also difficult to chat on-line given that you don’t know much about the other person, and so this could be a huge challenge for someone like me (I’m not that extrovert). And that I am not sure if I have said the right thing, especially in the first on-line meeting.
    In a face to face session, you could read the body language, but in an on-line session, you could only gauge or guess based on the tone of “voice” or “words” expressed. So I found this fascinating.
    I wish every success in your on-line teaching journey.
    Thanks again for sharing this post.
    Cheers.
    John Mak

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