Sunday, January 30, 2011
Confession of a Choral Teacher
This is my confession.
I stand guilty of sin – specifically the sin of heresy against the Lord of Educational Technology. I as a teacher am entrusted with and expected to use PowerPoint, as well as projector screens, Smart boards, email and whatever technologies are available, to make my lessons approachable and comprehensible to my plugged in pupils. I have broken this sacred trust on more than one occasion, however, for several reasons.
For one, I do not have prep time to create extensive PowerPoints for every class I teach. My time goes into planning rehearsals, and into photocopying forms, communicating with parents, planning concerts and field trips. The number one priority must be music, and that’s where I feel like I fall short of my expectations on the technology education spectrum.
This is also my podium.
My second defense against the charge of heresy is that I am a music teacher, and I typically teach in a choir class, which operates very differently from the typical high school learning environment. We sit in rows, stand, and move around, always using our own bodies to make music. It may be low-tech, but learning happens on a high order, and it’s learning about our own natural abilities to make music. There is a beauty in a rehearsal atmosphere that defies the grace of a Smart board and surpasses the need for document readers and mobile phones.
I am required by my students, the music, and myself to be immediately responsive to what I hear, and to teach musical concepts as they arise. I cannot in this context make use of “educational” technology.
Choir is about performing as a team, in harmony and unity. It is similar to a gym class in this way, and also in that we are using our physical selves to learn and embrace curriculum. Gym class also typically does not involve many technological presentations.
One must state that students don’t seem to mind the lack of note taking and deskwork in either of these learning environments.
Lord, have mercy on me. I have sinned.