Integrating Technology into the Classroom

I believe every teacher has the responsibility to promote an open, safe and positive classroom. Three things that a teacher would need to know about their students to help create the type of classroom that I desire is knowing the students’ ability level, their discipline issues, and if they have any disabilities.The student’s ability is the broadest of issues. Student ability includes technical skills, reading and writing ability, communication, and any class specific skill. In order to truly teach a student to the best of their abilities, you have to know where they are at prior to your teaching.
A teacher needs to be aware of a student’s discipline issues for several reasons. First, I truly believe in being proactive and not reactive. People deal better with situations if they are prepared ahead of time for the problem. Second, if a teacher is going to create an open, safe, and positive atmosphere, they need to have strategies in place for students who have had difficulty with issues that cause the classroom atmosphere problems. Three, the teacher might need outside expertise to overcome issues that he or she is not familiar with or finds themselves lacking in the proper skills to deal with that student.

Discipline and the disabilities issues are extremely similar in importance. If teachers are going to truly create an equal opportunity of education for their students, they need to be prepared to teach their students as best they can. Each student comes as an individual with individualized problems. This is not an easy part of teaching, but an extremely important one.

A little about what I am looking for!

Every year of my career has found me doing something to improve my teaching abilities and technology skills. The culmination of my improvement to this point was the finishing of the Masters Degree in Curriculum and Technology that I just finished in January. The program that I chose was absolutely perfect for my career as I have really grown in my abilities to incorporate technology into the classroom and overall educational setting.

Over the past 10 years I have been an important leader among the faculty on issues of integrating technology, curriculum development, and team leadership. I have been asked repeatedly to lead committees including the formation of 2 new technology departments in my last two employment opportunities overseas. Additionally, I have lots of experience presenting to my fellow professional educators that includes teacher conferences such as KORCOS in South Korea and AASCA in Costa Rica.

I am Microsoft certified and very tech savvy. The past four years I have worked as a technology coordinator which gave me the responsibility of training teachers and also making sure teachers integrated technology better. Both schools that I worked at internationally implemented Edline and school administration software which I was an important member of the faculty because of the training on these products that I gave teachers, students and parents.

Additionally, I have recently been awarded for my submission to Windows XP magazine. This was just one of the several times that I have had information published in technology magazines or educational technology websites. I was a finalist for an educational website on curriculum theme page development but lost out because the grant changed from four people to only two. I was very proud of this as I was top four out of over 500 applicants. Beyond these experiences is the development of my own small webdesign company that can be found at smeech.net.

My future career goals consist of finding a school district to move back to from overseas teaching in which I will become a long term faculty member. My wife and I have begun our family with the birth of a beautiful baby daughter. This happy addition has put into perspective how important it is for me and my wife to be near our family and friends as our family begins to grow. Our families are from the Chicago Suburbs so I see myself in that region for the duration of my career. The greatest short term ambition I have is to continue my involvement in technology instruction or to teach Social Studies with the ability to integrate technology in the Chicagoland area.

Please describe what you would do in your classroom or school setting to meet the needs of culturally and racially diverse student populations.

Generally, if one forgets that each of these students has a different background with different issues related, then the teacher will not be capable of understanding their needs. My four years of overseas teaching has been perfect for me to really learn how to work with culturally and racially diverse student bodies. The schools we worked in were international with students from many different regions of the world. Learning about the two majority groups of Korean and Honduran students taught me a lot about how different their cultures view education and the school. I had to be very aware of these cultural differences and prepared for misunderstandings or differences. A great example was teaching U.S. history. The Koreans have a much different slant on our history because of the impact our country has made on their history. I had to be very careful because most of our textbooks are so patriotic. Many students initially were very turned off by the curriculum because of their own patriotic feelings for their homeland. I had to identify very quickly with their issues so that I could get them to buy into what we were going to be doing and talking about in class.

I firmly believe a teacher must follow these principles. All educators who want to meet the needs of a diverse classroom must give instruction and teach curriculum that engage and encourage all students. Instruction methods need to be based on sound principles of how children learn and develop. All expectations must be realistic and achievable for all students. Curriculum needs to reflect the needs and interests of the student body. It is the teachers job to learn about each of their students so that they can identify with their cultural issues that will impact their learning.

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