This morning I had the amazing privilege to go to work for a few hours with John Bixler at Dayton Grade School. Mr. Bixler rocks at his job which is half time tech (works with the Ipad lab) and half time first grade. Wow! I am so glad he is doing these jobs and not me! He is amazing!
I arrived at school at 10am. I had never been to Dayton grade school. The school is easy to find and the layout is in a nice U shape.
I approached with a little bit of nervousness since I know that I love kids but teaching 1st graders isn’t really my thing. Plus I have my Ipad but teaching Ipads would be interesting to watch. John greeted me at the front desk and led me to his Ipad lab. We had some time before kiddos came in so I used the time to ask lots of questions. The school won a grant to boost their technology which has led to 5th and 6th grade classrooms getting access to Ipads and an Ipad lab that other classes get to visit. John has kiddos test applications, learn math and reading on these Ipads and explore other knowledge (ie stuff about dinosaurs and marine life). I even got to test some apps while John was hard at work.
He also told me about the grant writing process and how to maintain what needs to be done. A teacher stops by to ask a question about the wireless so we are off to try to figure it out. Back to the lab. As second graders come in, there is one more ipad to test out what they are testing as well. I ask the kiddos about which is their favorite. The general consensus seems to be ‘Hungry fish.” I happen to agree!
John says that it is time to move to 1st grade and off we go to his classroom where he tag teams with another 1st grade teacher. He launches into a unit on buying farm animals. He is so great about outlining what the kids need to know and letting them do the work they need to figure out. I want to blurt out the answers and yet here he is so patient and caring.
The kids are buying horses for their land and they have to figure out how much to give the banker (yeah, that gets to be me.) So they return to their seats to work out their money and call me over when they are ready. There is negotiating about which money to use and much chaos over buying horses. Before I know it, they are ready to move on to lunch and recess and out the door they run. I turn to the other teacher to comment about what a handful they have! wow!
But for now we have a little break…the principal comes in to chat with the teachers and with me. We talk about how the pastor has shown up and before I know it, lunch is over without actually eating lunch. John is on to the next lesson. He gathers the kiddos around to talk about the daily math problem. This is a problem of subtraction and somewhere along the line he makes a mistake. My favorite part was when a kiddo says, “Mr. Bixler you got that wrong.” And he turned and said, “yup, and sometimes adults make mistakes so lets figure this out together.” Wow, what a great way for kids to learn that we are all human and that’s ok! We can figure this out together! That’ll preach!
Thanks to John for letting me tag along. I was exhausted after just three hours and affirmed that my call is not in first grade but I had a great time. I also have much more respect for the teachers out there! Stay tuned because Thursday I head to the college to see the other end of the educational spectrum…..