My name is Victoria Olson and I am currently in my second year of teaching with School District #35 in Langley, British Columbia. I teach at Gordon Greenwood Elementary (@GGEGeckos) in a multi-age classroom (Grades 1,2,3) with another part of my position dedicated to administering and supporting technology in our school.
I have two missions and motives for creating my own website:
1) I am determined to expand my PLN to keep up with our digital world. Our kids are in it. Let's dive in and find out what's out there.
2) I want to document my career path as I move through my first years of teaching. Personal reflection on successes and failures has thus far been integral to my growth as an educator. I might as well share it with someone who cares.
More about me...
I have just applied for my Masters in Educational Technology through UBC in Vancouver. I am on pins and needles waiting to find out if I have gotten accepted as my future as a "tech teacher" hangs in the balance. This year, I was fortunate to gain my position through my experience in the multi-age classroom. Throughout the school year, I have exponentially increased my knowledge of digital learning tools, software and hardware issues, our online world, administration of technology from iPads to projectors, and just how much support teachers really need with tech. (They, me included, need a lot!) But I don't have a degree or any documentation that I know this stuff, which really just gave me an excuse to learn more through a Masters program. Wish me luck!
Onto the other side of my job.... Whenever I tell someone that I teach in a multi-aged classroom, without fail, I get replies like "What?!", "Why would they do that?", "Is that normal?", amongst other commentary that I probably shouldn't publish. The worst part is that it is extremely difficult to explain the concept of peer mentorship, collaboration, and mindful classroom learning to people who aren't immersed in the world of education. Others who are in the world of education may argue that it doesn't work, the gaps are too wide, and that they do all of those things in the regular single-grade classroom, so why have the program at all? What's worse is that those people usually walk away thinking that I got duped into a crummy job because I'm a young teacher.
They couldn't be more wrong.
I love teaching in a multi-age classroom. I love facilitating learning rather than being the primary source for information. I love watching as my students assist each other in problem-solving activities whether the subject is math, science, using technology, or a social issue on the playground. I love being able to call upon my students to "teach" the others in their own language as I'm often called out by my Grade 1s for using big words. They make their own class rules and vote on them and they run their own routines like calendar and class meetings without teacher intervention. The self-regulation that begins to occur is out of this world due to peer expectation and reinforcement. I could go on but that's a blog post within itself.
So perhaps one would argue that it is worth the difficulty to explain exactly what it is that I do in this position that encompasses both a multi-age classroom and technology. So I'm on a mission to share and catalogue some of my experiences so that I can give people a place to go when they are scratching their heads about my current job description. But I'm also here to learn and make mistakes along the way. Happy reading :)