For this week’s blog post I am going to focus on the word connection. This is a word that has travelled leaps and bounds over the years. Its meaning has taken on a skin like a chameleon and transformed itself as technology and innovation took off. It’s meaning has expanded from something small and intimate, to something large and global. I do not mean this to sound negative, but similar to a lot of things in our world, this advancement comes with the good and the bad.
As I try to place myself in a world without the ease of today, I think that connection would have been such an genuine and intimate experience. Connecting with a diverse group of people would have taken great effort and coordination. Pioneers couldn’t hit up their friends on Facebook, or tag them in a post on Twitter. Instead, they had to physically find themselves standing face-to-face with another human and coordinate the next time they would meet meticulously and precisely. I think of what family life would look like in this time as well, when there was no technology to interrupt genuine connectivity. Social skills and oral communication were constantly being developed and refined, and people were more likely to sit and process emotion, feeling, and thought.
I also think of the school experience during this time. The connection between teacher and student. I was intrigued by this time period and found a teacher guide from the 1880’s about pioneer schools in Texas. Children were often taught in one-room school houses. It was stated that real teachers were a “prized possession” for the community. The rules during this time for both students and teachers were not humanitarian or moral, but teachers often had the same students for multiple years of their lives and it is hard for me to think that no connection was formed. If we could disconnect ourselves from the disciplinary and rigid structure of the school, what would that model look like now?
By putting myself back in those times and thinking about connection from a general standpoint at that time, it makes me strive to create a place where genuine human connection exists in the classroom. The advancements made in technology have done wonders of good for society as a whole, but I think there is real benefit in creating balance. A balance where we connect with students around the world via Skype, but also allow ourselves to grow and be vulnerable inside a morning sharing circle. A balance where we post our class happenings on our Twitter, but also leave wall space open to celebrate the achievements of different students.
"Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” - Jana Kingsford
So create a culture that is both tight-knit and intimate, as well as global and connective. Doing this will not only benefit students, but will allow you to have more of an influence on your student’s lives as well, and is that not a main reason we all wanted to immerse ourselves into the teaching world in the first place?
Check out my fellow Lakehead 9x9x25 bloggers:
Helen Dewaard - http://extending.hjdewaard.ca/category/9x9x25-blogging-challenge/
Steven Secord - http://teachingbythebay.ca