My expertise was requested today and because I did not have a snow day, I was able to oblige. I am taking this subject matter expert/teacher opportunity seriously (not in clothing-today was neon Spongebob shirt), thus when I can go, I go, and I want to do my best for the students in the class. Having been through the process of creating a portfolio and watching fellow students discover who they are, at least for that moment, I want to alleviate some of the stress and replace that with functional energy.
Which is why I was not surprised that I did not get a ton of questions. They are learning who I am. After all, until Tuesday, I was a name, a few stories about last portfolio class, and a body in the corner writing. Tuesday, I was a teacher, albeit a strange teacher-dressed very unconventionally, and essentially vomiting a ton of information at them, while learning who they are and how they react. They only had my word that I knew what I was talking about.
Today was my chance to show that expertise, but only if they asked questions. As expected, it took some time for people to warm up. I understand the process and once the interaction began it went well. One student has the first page of their online portfolio ready or at least under construction enough to begin the process…
- looking at every detail and thinking about why they made those choices
- showing the class that what is displayed on the monitor may not be what people see on a phone, projector or in print
- thinking about more than what is on the screen, but what does on the screen mean to them and more importantly may mean to prospective viewers
- thinking about how to take the mundane and make it them
This is the part of teaching that I enjoy; getting to know the students and tailoring lessons for them as individuals and then for the group. I enjoy how a single question, such as “What do you think?” as a student points at the screen can turn into…
- stand back and take a look. Where do your eyes go? Then where? Is that where you want the viewer to go? Why?
- why that font or that color?
- why that word choice?
- and so on…
Then turning that individual lesson or Q&A session into a learning opportunity for the rest of the students. Either gathering them around the computer or putting it up on the projector. On the screen they see what the student saw, which is useful. On the projector, they see what none of them could see, the distortion of image and color. That turns into a lesson about planning ahead and thinking about presentation in more than one direction at a time.
That is the stuff I enjoy. I see faces light up and the wheels turning from those students who paid attention. Questions follow and the process continues. I hope as this semester continues the students come to me more easily and readily for assistance, that is why I am there.