I am writing a similar disclaimer as Jen Wagner did just recently. Thanks Wes for allowing me to be a guest blogger. With a 3 day span I am really challenged to produce a daily post. Well, here goes. These ideas and opinions are mine and do not reflect Wes’ thinking on these subjects.

Dear Teacher, (substitute your name here)

I have heard recently that teachers don’t get much thanks from their students until sometimes years later when you notice that we have become productive members of society. But, I want to thank you for this year and perhaps….. well, read on.
Thank you for knowing your content area. That is really important for you to know your content so the administration, parents and students have trust in you to transfer that knowledge to us. I want to especially thank my World After 1945 teacher for having assignments from our book and for making sure that I learned the dates of important world events and the impact of those same events (from the textbook author’s perspective) and for having assignments where I just had to fill in the blank.
I want to thank my literature teacher for having assignments from Beowulf ( Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem composed in the later Early Middle Ages (in the 8th, 9th or 10th century), and for making sure that we read the old English version and translate it into modern day meaning. I am sure I will use that knowledge when I am writing a technical manual about how to navigate the website of my future business.

I want to thank my math teacher for having assignments from the textbook and for making sure that we learned how to answer the questions at the end of the chapters on our own, as that is the sure way to determine if the students understand the process.
I want to thank you for keeping the school day short enough not to interfere with my most important and significant learning which happens as soon as I leave the building. After all, I am easily able to finish my fill in the blank answers, reading assignments and predictable answers to your questions. Which leaves me enormous amounts of time to pretend to my parents that “I am researching a topic for my World After 1945 class, Mom, I can’t come do my chores just yet.” (Translate I am adding some photos to my Facebook and tagging my friends to see what they are doing, I’ll do chores at the last minute.) I want to thank you for keeping my assignments short so as not to interfere with my (MMORPG) Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
where I meet up with friends from all time zones and like it is my job to take on a role in this game. “Oh Dad, I can’t come and move the trash yet, I am finishing up my math problems, it is a little difficult tonight I can’t solve for x in this really long equation.”

Last but not least, I want to thank you for keeping cell phones and mp3 players out of the school day, you can’t imagine how distracting it is for me to have to answer all those text messages during school and keep in touch with my circle of friends including calls and messages from my parents when there have been changes in our family plans.

But, I was wondering if maybe next year we could add just a few social networking tools to your content? I was thinking it would be interesting to chat with some students in India to find out what kind of information they are learning in their classes since I will be competing with them when I go for a job or enrolling for college. I wonder if they learn about mathematics the same way we do. I wonder how long their school day is, how long their school year is? Then I am wondering if the kids in the UK are still reading Beowulf, and how their teachers teach them about the purpose of Beowulf in today’s world and wouldn’t it be interesting to have a dialogue or chat with some kids in school in the UK. Finally, I was wondering if there was a way we could work on an environmental problem with some kids from around the world to see if there is something that we have in common and if some of us have ideas that might just help the environment now rather than waiting 5-9 more years when we finish high school.
You see, teacher, I am curious, I want to learn, I want to be challenged, I want to be engaged in my learning. To be honest, your curriculum doesn’t always provide for the connections I need to make my learning purposeful. But, I do want to thank you for trying to deliver the content and knowledge. Please add one technology tool, social networking, let us work collaboratively like we already are when we are outside of school. Hey, give us great assignments and we will work longer and harder. You will see.

Fondly,
Your 21st century student.( substitute one of your student’s names)
*******
Here are some great blogs and wikis designed for the 21st century learner.

Thanks to Clarence Fischer for the Clarence Fisher Project, SnowLake Manitoba, Canada

Darren Kuropatwa Winnepeg Manitoba, Canada

Susan Ettenheim, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, NYC, Youth Voices

Alice Barr, Yarmouth High School, ME

Here is a collaborative science program, worldwide connections.Globe

Over and Out,

Cheryl Oakes, guest blogger


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On this day..

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  • http://www.teachingeverystudent.blogspot.com Karen Janowski

    Excellent! Can I pass this along to my kids’ high school teachers? Better yet, if they found it themselves and passed it along to their colleagues!

  • http://www.cheryloakes.com Cheryl Oakes

    Sure Karen, spread the word. Can you imagine what students will be like after a couple months off of school and access to technology? I know I have a lot of catching up to do!
    Cheryl

  • http://yhsstaff.edublogs.org Alice Barr

    Indeed Karen, spread the word! And Cheryl thanks for this post!. Starting with one tool in one class is worth taking the risk. The students will help along the way. They do learn differently and so appreciate any attempt to adapt to their collaborative learning styles. Teachers take that risk! It’s so worth it!!!

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