Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Proud New Owners of teachnet.org... We're Very Flattered... But Please Stop Copying this Site. Thank You.
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers

TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Math and Science Learning
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
Our Mission
   Press Releases
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award


New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction

Lab Teachers' Lament
Carl Sannito

This article is specifically for those of us who are teaching (or will be teaching) in the computer lab. If you haven’t taught in a computer lab before, it’s a different experience than being in a classroom. You probably won’t see the same kids every day, but even if you do, you probably won’t bond with the kids the way that a classroom teacher does. The classroom teacher has constant interaction with the students, but the lab teacher has a limited amount of time with her/his students. The lab teacher also needs to give students lots of time to interact with technology. This frequently means leaving students alone and seeing more of the backs’ of their heads than the fronts.

As a former classroom teacher, I miss that interaction. I miss that feeling that I’m an important part of my students’ lives. Perhaps it’s the end of the year self-assessment; I look at my professional life and think about what changes I can make for next year, how I think I did this year, and how satisfied I am in general.

Obviously, most people don’t have the luxury of taking a few weeks off from our primary job to evaluate where we’ve been and where we think we’re going. I consider myself lucky that I have this time and I really try to work on myself over the summer so I can bring something more to my teaching in the fall. Even if August 2006 is your first year teaching, you’re probably taking time to make plans for the future. Heck, just reading this article shows that you’re doing it right now.

I’ve been teaching for 11 years now and I remember how it felt that first year. How I was going into the classroom to change the world. I remember my first year of teaching and how the world changed me. I used to be in the classroom and although I worked my behind off, I felt a sense of satisfaction in the classroom that I don’t think I’ve ever reached in the computer lab.

And as I take the time to look back over the year, I began to think about leaving the computer lab and looking for a position in the classroom again. I guess I felt as though I wasn’t reaching kids and parents the way that I wanted to. I wasn’t satisfied.

So I reflected on the past year and I discovered I did have a huge sense of satisfaction because not only was I teaching my students, but I was also teaching teachers. I forgot how much time I took with my peers and worked with my friends. When classes were dropped off in the lab, I invited teachers to stay and work on what I was working on with the students, so they could learn too. I provided support to teachers by taking lots of time to talk with them about their/our students and share observations. We worked together to see if there were applications or activities that students could work on that would complement what the classroom teacher was teaching. I think the most important thing we did was talk about teaching. We reflected and we shared. Teachers don’t get a lot of time to do that, but I went out of my way to do that with my peers.

I’m not sharing to pat myself on the back, but I think that any job is really what we make of it. I know that a lab teacher doesn’t have the built in rewards that a classroom teacher gets daily. But we also can support our peers by sharing ideas, collaborating and encouraging reflection.

Lab teachers are wonderful resources and sometimes classroom teachers don’t know what we’ve accomplished. They don’t know that sometimes we have ideas that can help. So don’t be afraid to share ideas, collaborate and just talk.

Lab teachers have a role in the school that is different than the classroom teacher. That role is only as important as we decide to make it. Here’s to making every role in the school an important one.

Do you have a comment or suggestion? You can e-mail Carl at carlsannito@yahoo.com.


Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.


Journey Back to the Great Before