A cushy job where you can sit all day? Think again. Principals and Administrators like to see that all of the teachers are up wondering around the room assisting students. A sitting teacher is one not doing his or her job. The rule, of course, is unwritten. Nowhere in the union contract does it say that a teacher must be walking around the room seven hours out of the day. But when year end reviews are written, don’t think for a minute that a teacher who is seemingly sitting all day, won’t be remembered doing so. Yes, high quality teachers make themselves available to the students and wiggle through the rows to observe student productivity.
For most teachers sitting is a luxury. For others a necessity. Teachers of online courses have two reasons to be out of the chair: to check that students are on task, and to assist a student who may be having technical difficulties. Otherwise, all of their communication is sent via text or email. Other teachers like to throw their two cents in “All he/ she does is sit there all day long.” They would not be so quick to judge if they really understood how a blended classroom operates.
One teacher, whose prime directive was to get seniors to pass and graduate on time by regaining credit through online coursework, made his own modifications to his program. Discussion assignments were sent to him as an email where he responded with higher order, thought provoking statements, and he made the class “paperless” by having all student s work turned into him as email attachments. Add to that that the Administration wanted constant updates on senior progress, and others for undergraduate students progress as well. This required creating detailed spreadsheets that needed to be constantly updated. All of this being done at the computer terminal left little time to peruse the class.
It is the nature of the beast. The more computer driven classes appear it will appear as if the teacher is not driven. A well set up blended classroom manages itself, and the teacher is left piloting the ship from the keyboard. If a teacher is not at the controls, and spends aimless time wondering around the classroom, it is easy for a class to get loose. Meaning, if students needs are not met, assignments not graded, and discussion assignments not responded to immediately, productivity will slow. The class needs to be running at a fever pitch.
More than likely a blended room teacher sitting at the computer is doing exactly what they need to do. The days of teach and sit are gone. To be effective, a blended room teacher will have a dozen windows open on their computer and multitasking to complete the request of each student the moment it arrives. And pay no attention to those who think blended room teachers sit all day and do nothing. It is just the realization of fear that e-Learning is coming faster than they are prepared for. And also from the regret that they should have taken more technology classes over the years.