I've just begun working on my Masters in Education (I thought I was "bored"), and have been enjoying my most recent course, an introduction to research methods. This week we had an assignment due, and as I read the requirements, and balanced them out with my other responsibilities, I thought to myself, "Yeah. OK. I can do this, no problem." But then... but then! On Monday we received our weekly update from the professor. In the message he "casually" mentions that we should put our assignment on a Power Point and upload it to the group discussion site. I began to panic. "A Power Point?!?!? There is nothing in this assignment that tells us we have to do a Power Point!!!" You might know, I teach Kindergarten. I don't "do" Power Point. I probably use it two or three times a year- Meet the Teacher Night, maybe Welcome to Kindergarten, and I have one for a 3-D shape unit. So now, my stress level for this assignment went from 0-80 in about sixty seconds. I stewed on this for a few days.
That was Monday. Fast forward to Wednesday and a Professional Development session. Sandra Herbst (Educator and Superintendent from Manitoba) was in our province to present to all of the teachers, K-12 (they divided it up by 'families of schools', so not every teacher on one day, but there were about 600 on my day). She was showing a video of a high school math class where the students were working on a problem in groups using mini-white boards and markers. After showing the video, she spent about five minutes discussing how revolutionary this was for this particular teacher to use white boards in the class, and many of the intermediate and senior high teachers in the room were amazed by this "new technology". Meanwhile, my kindergarten colleagues and I were looking at each other in amusement. You see, we use mini-white boards in our classrooms all of the time (which Sandra Herbst did comment on- "all of the primary teachers in here are looking at the older grades and laughing right about now, because they've been using these for years).
That was Wednesday. Fast forward to Thursday in the staff room. I was talking to another colleague who was telling me about her husband (a high school teachers) using Power Point all of the time, like he could do it in his sleep. And that's when my epiphany happened. My instructor teaches high school and University. He probably uses Power Point every day, so much so that he could do it in his sleep. So him asking for us to put our presentations on Power Point was, for him (I assume), a very simple, regular thing to do. Just like, for me, using a mini-white board with my students is a very simple, regular thing to do.
That's when I realized: Mini-White boards are to high school teachers what power points are to kindergarten teachers.
Lesson learned? Perhaps I could use Power Point more often?
But the moral of this story is: We may say the same words, but we don't always speak the same language. It's important to remember that when we talk to each other.
And for my Power Point? I used pictures of me holding up a white board with questions on it- because that's how I roll