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We have all experienced those signs that something is amiss with our computer. The system crashes with ever increasing frequency. Booting up the device takes longer and may not provide easy access to content. Folder and file names scramble and change. The wait time to open files and programs becomes annoyingly lengthy. The computer runs louder and hotter than before.
Hard drive crashes are a frustrating fact of life in this digital age. Even if one has secure backups of all data, the investment of time and money in getting everything working once more is substantial. And heaven forbid a crash take place at the onset of a new school year!
Imagine for a moment that your hard drive died and that all the files you have saved as an educator are inaccessible. You locate your copy of backup data but find that this backup has failed as well. Do you cry? scream? pray? How are you going to survive a year of teaching without all that you have collected and saved from your previous classes?
Each year, God blesses us with new students, parents, and an entirely different classroom mix of students. Last year’s class is gone, never to return. Oh, you may have some of the same students, but even they have grown and changed from the beginning of last year. Every child and class is a unique gift from God.
Because each student and class is unique, our structure, approach, lessons, and activities should be designed to address the specific needs of the students God has placed under our care. What worked last year may not work this year, or even be appropriate for these new learners. We are called to best meet the needs of each student we encounter.
That is why I challenge each educator to teach like your hard drive crashed. If we lost all access to our previous data, we would be forced to create anew, thinking through each lesson and activity in light of our current classroom situation. Everything would be tailored specifically for the learning tasks at hand and not simply utilized with a new class because it is handy to use.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I don’t wish a hard drive crash on anyone, especially myself! I value what I have created in past years. But when I rely solely on my past materials without thinking mindfully about how they apply to the students in my room this year, I am doing a disservice to my learners.
That is why “teaching like my hard drive crashed” is an attitude to embrace. I don’t want to apply lessons and activities I have used in the past just because it is easier or I have them already prepared. My task as an educator is to do my best to meet the specific needs of the students placed in my care RIGHT NOW.
Some of what we have already built may be appropriate for our current students. Other activities may need to be adapted, or even scrapped, with new lessons created for this year. Yes, that may be more work than simply pulling something from the past, but don’t our students deserve our very best for their individual and corporate learning? “Teaching like my hard drive crashed” provides us the approach to provide the very best learning experience for those who are now in our classrooms.
Start fresh. Think fresh. Create fresh as needed. May God bless your efforts as you “teach like your hard drive crashed” in the coming year.
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