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The Shock and Awe of Teaching Young Students
by Brad Flickinger
Like many educators, the reasons why I teach vary as the school year progresses. It is now spring in my area and the students are starting to get squirrelly, which means classroom management goes into overdrive. I usually start in August with high hopes and ambition but by April, that gas is starting to run low and is being replaced with pure survival instinct.
I was starting to run on get-to-the-end-of-the-school-year mode when I started to do more work with a digital band that I had been playing with throughout the year. Since December I had been working with a few students in my tech class and with only digital instruments on mobile devices to put together an actual song. For weeks we had been getting together at lunch a few times a week to practice the Katy Perry song “Firework.” Sometimes things would come together and other times it was a mess. Anyone who has worked with 9 year-olds know what I am talking about.
Things were looking bleak.
Then a 9 year-old girl named Logan offered to sing the song. Let me tell you, she got up to sing with all the confidence of a seasoned rocker and she belted this song out. I sat back in my chair, mouth gaping open in shock, amazed and the talent of this girl. At the end she looked around at all of us and asked how she did. I was without words, and I had goose bumps on my arms. “That was amazing!” I finally said. Nobody knew Logan could sing.
Which brings me back to my reasons for teaching: I teach to be inspired – inspired by my young students. My tech students shock me most every day with hidden talents that I never knew they had. They make me want to be a better teacher. My tank is now full again and I am ready to “bring-it” every day until the end of this school year.
So thank you Logan for inspiring me, your teacher, and I hope I can do the same for you some day.
Brad Flickinger is a technology integration specialist who teaches technology at Bethke Elementary in Timnath, Colorado and is the founder of SchoolTechnology.org