Have you been in a classroom lately?

This is the year I started substitute teaching. I hadn’t participated in a public school classroom since 1997. That’s 21 years. When I was a senior in high school, we took one class on typing on a computer keyboard attached with a cord to a large hard drive (yes, without looking), and another class on how use the “word processor program” from Microsoft. Our small town in Missouri had only had internet available to homes for 2 years. The cool kids had already upgraded to free hotmail email accounts.

No cell phones. No google. No gmail. No free WiFi. NO WIFI. Our classrooms were analog experiences with a box tv on a cart for special occasions or the OJ trial.

My husband and several family members and friends are educators. So I’d heard rumors of “Smart boards” and “Chrome books” and “YouTube kids”.

But then I became a sub. Five months later, I’m just now getting the hang of all the classroom technology. FIVE MONTHS.

If you are 30 or over, I’m about to make you feel really old.

  • Most of my elementary sub positions involve using “Chrome books” from the classroom stack or the grade-level carts. Most classrooms have students assigned to making sure these get put back and plugged in correctly.
  • Teachers make assignments to kids and they are waiting for them in their google classroom, which they know how to get to and use index cards with passwords to get in.
  • Many middle and high school classrooms have cell phone charging stations. Which is brilliant because it gets the phone out of the students hands/pockets for the 50 minutes they need to focus.
  • Classroom jeopardy and math games are digital and on the smart board operated by a special stylus thingy I still haven’t figured out how to turn on.
  • Music class might be a kid’s yoga video on YouTube.
  • There are no chalkboards. I repeat. There are no chalkboards.
  • Earbuds everywhere but never enough when you need them.

What advances in the classroom environment have you noticed?

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