Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Silence is Golden

Twenty four hours ago, I sat in this very spot writing my blog, healthy as a horse.  Most of the day, yesterday, everything was just fine and dandy.  Then, around 1PM, I started to feel a little tickle in my throat.  When I say tickle, I mean it felt like I had something tiny caught in my throat that no amount of water or swallowing would get rid of it.  By 2PM, I noticed that my voice was getting a little hoarse.  I would equate it to what my voice sounds like after I've spent a couple of hours screaming at a ball game or concert.  And, by the time I got home last night, that little tickle and hoarseness had progressed and my voice was basically non-existent.  There was noise coming out of my mouth when I spoke, but it sounded more like a woman that smokes 8 packs a day.  It resembled more of a husky growl than a voice.

It amazes me that in a matter of a few hours I can develop a case of laryngitis.  I'm assuming that's what it is.  I don't feel sick, my throat doesn't really hurt, and I don't have a cough.  I still have the feeling like there's something small stuck in my throat that's causing me a little discomfort, but I definitely wouldn't consider it a "sore throat".  

I can only assume that someone's prayers have been answered.  Someone apparently asked the Lord for me to stop talking, even for a little while, and BAM... no voice for me.  Sure, I can explain this quick onset of laryngitis as a mere fluke associated with seasonal allergies, but deep down I think a higher power may be at the reigns.  I've only had my voice disappear once in my entire life, that wasn't associated with some illness like the flu or a cold, so I can't really believe this is just a normal, allergy type situation that I'm dealing with.  Of course, there's always the possibility that my loss of voice is an early sign that I'm coming down with some type of illness, but being that I'm presenting no other symptoms, I'm just going to call it as I see it:  Someone wanted me to stop talking for a while, and they got their wish.  HA!

I have the best job for laryngitis, don't I?  I mean, do you know how hard it is to teach 4th graders without a voice?  It's hard enough, sometimes, trying to maintain order with the booming voice that I normally have.  Taking that away basically cripples me from having any form of control.  The only thing I can do, now, is play the pity card.  I need to lay the guilt trip down, and explain how important it is for them to stay quiet so that I don't strain my voice any more than I have to.  Kids are easy targets for stuff like this, and they're usually very good about taking care of their teacher if she's feeling under the weather or develops a supernatural phenomenon such as the onset of no voice.

Thankfully, today is Pajama Day, so at least I can go to work nice and comfy.  Just in case my voice situation does turn in to something a little more than laryngitis.  There's nothing better than getting to walk around all day in fleece jammies.  I may even take my slippers so that I can really feel like I'm at home.  

Voice or no voice, the show has to go on.  I'm thinking that today may be a great opportunity to do some self-directed learning.  By that, I mean having the kids do some of the teaching, and having them problem solve and work together.  That's how the learning should be, and I need to get better about having my students be more independent and facilitating the learning rather than force-feeding it to them.

That was the focus of my class work, this week:  The shift in 21st century learning.  My assignment consisted of watching a bunch of videos and reading a bunch of articles comparing and contrasting education and the shifts that have been made over the course of the past 100 years.  And, despite the assignment being very time consuming, it was interesting to see the technology shifts and what classroom learning should look like compared to what it used to look like back in the day of rows of desks, memorization, and stuffing content knowledge in to the students' brains.  

Education has definitely come along way, and it was extremely interesting to see some of the statistics that revolve around how the purpose of education has shifted.  For example, did you know that 10 of the top 12 jobs in the highest demand of 2010 didn't even exist in 2004?  And that thousands of new jobs are being created every two years, that never existed up until that point.  That means that teachers are no longer preparing students for a job force requiring a set amount of skills, but now need to be preparing students with skills that are adaptable and applicable to jobs that aren't even out there yet.  The days of learning reading, writing, and arithmetic are long gone.  Content is no longer the focus of education, but rather a small part in the process.  In order for our kids to be able to show any competition in the "real world", they need to be able to, collaborate, problem solve, and think critically.  There is no more room for black and white instruction, instead education needs to be more focused on the gray area.  And technology is the front runner in today's education.  Without technology, our students will be left in the dust when it comes to college preparation and career readiness. 

Interesting stuff.  And as a possible future administrator, I have to think about how to get teachers to make the shift, embrace, and rely on technology as not just a tool, but as a foundation for student learning.

The only way I can really do that is to practice that right now.  With my students.  In my classroom.  And what better way to do that than when I have no voice?

See how I made that complete circle, there?  And you thought I was going off on some tangent, didn't you?

Anywho, right now, I need to think about getting ready for work.  Changing from one set of pajamas in to another.  

Have a fantastic Tuesday, everyone!


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