Today was Jack's last day of Kindergarten.
Like any parent, I could go on and on about my son-- his talents, his unique attributes. Jack is smart, adventurous, strong and athletic, sensitive and kind, outgoing and friendly. He loves learning, has an incredible memory, is enamored with reading and writing, and craves constant mental stimulation.
He is also fidgety, impulsive and loud. He forgets to raise his hand. He "HAS TO SAY SOMETHING!" Not always welcome attributes in the classroom setting.
Although he was in a small class (only 8 students) at a private school, Jack struggled to fit in this year due to his impulsive behavior. Every day he came home with a number written in a folder, representing how many smiley-faces he received (or didn't get taken away) that day.
As Jack and I discussed his behavior, and why he might have lost a smiley that day, it became apparent to me that a lot of his troubles seemed to occur on the mat. Jack lost smileys for talking on the mat, scraping the mat, writing on the mat, etc. Once he even received an extra smiley for good behavior on the mat.
Our school, in general, seems to struggle to meet the needs of kids, like Jack, who don't seem to fit nicely into the box (ie: sit nicely on the mat). Put Jack in a tree and I think he would listen more attentively.
It even looks like a box.
I have just finished my fourth year of teaching at the same school Jack attends. I continue to grow and learn and am lucky to be in a place where I am able to evolve professionally. When I got into the field of educational technology it was sparked by my interest in what motivated students. As I started blogging and tweeting, I chose the name EdTech Workshop because, at the time I was thrilled by the new and exciting potential I was discovering as I became an expert in the field of technology integration.
Although I still believe tremendously in the potential it holds, technology in education is no longer new to me, and I find myself feeling a bit "boxed in" here at EdTech Workshop. I want to feel free as I work through my ideas about learning and life in a broader, more open space, as silly or arbitrary as that may sound.
I have taken the "tech" out of my job description. In honor of Jack and all children who don't fit into the mold of schooliness, I am calling my new blog "Off The Mat." This also reflects my growing commitment to my yoga practice, and my desire to explore how I can take that practice off the mat and into the rest of my life.
There are a number of absolutely brilliant EdTech blogs out there. Instead of continuing to sing with the choir, I am ready to find and share my own true voice.
"What the world tells you is to be like everybody else. What the world needs for you to be is YOU." ~Ralph Marston