In the past few weeks, I have really been thinking about just how inundated we all are with screens. Television, IPads, IPods, IPhones, Samsungs, Galaxies, Kindles, texting, and desktop and laptop computer screens occupy such a huge part of our lives, and it seems that even our individual social interactions are also controlled by screens. Facebook, Twitter, daily emails, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google +, and all of the other social media sites require even more time than all of the hours we spent years ago returning phone calls. The technology is a double-edged sword : the connections to others make us so much more accessible and connected, yet we are not really connected personally any more, because there is always a screen as the intermediary. I don't know if you have noticed, but it seems we can never take time off from the screens, which have taken over our lives.
I taught grade 10 for 37 years, and I did not retire until well after schools were using computer labs and laptops and smartboards and all of the students had IPhones and IPods. The students were completely plugged in, long before Most adults I know. In fact, at one faculty meeting, the Principal said that we were no longer teaching teenagers; rather, we were teaching "screen-agers", and of course, he was correct.
Because of all of the screens that surround all of us every day, I believe that the daily human interactions between teachers and students is more important than ever. Sometimes, students just want someone to listen to them, and to look them in the eyes as they speak. In my opinion, screens will never be able to replace the compassionate caring of another human being. Students come to school every day with personal and family problems, and often, they need a sounding board or advice from a trusted adult. Sadly, they can't always find either of those at home. As teachers, we often spend more time with a child than their own parents, so it is only natural that a child would turn to a trusted teacher for help and support. I urge you to be there for your students when they put their screens down. Teachers have a great opportunity to create positive influences in the lives of their students. Help them to make the human connection they sorely need in their screen-filled lives.
Rittman Publishing, LLC
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Dede's book Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher, is available at www.dederittman.com or Amazon.com.
Dede is available to speak on a variety of educational topics. Contact info is available at her website.
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