The past week has been a rather unfortunate but enlightening one for myself and another teacher. The unfortunate part is that I was not able to work for four days as I was dealing with an illness. (I think I’ve taken a total of four days off in my entire career before this week so that lets you know the extent…) The redeeming quality of the whole situation; however, came though from  the supply teacher my school chose to bring in for me.

The school made the best possible choice in person to bring in for my absence this week. She is a supply teacher who has done some previous work at our school and therefore I knew she happens to be a tech geek like me. (She is also a Mac user which is awesome!) On the first day she was there, she sent me an email saying she had turned on the Smart Board and was using it even though I hadn’t left that as part of my lesson and therefore I knew I could leave her anything to do with my classes that I would have normally done myself. I can’t tell you how much a relief that was to me as I am someone who is often riddled with guilt when I feel that I’m letting others down (especially my students!)

On the second day, I emailed her my lesson plans which used the Smart Board and my wiki extensively in each class. Even before I got her email updating me on the day, I knew that my lessons were in good hands and that everything was getting completed. When I got her email, the first line was “The wiki/Smart Board are pretty much the greatest things ever!” She is absolutely right too! I was able to create wiki pages for each of my classes outlining what they were to accomplish for the day and she was then able to facilitate the directions in the class.

On the third day, I even had a couple of challenges put forth for one of my classes and they used the internet to search out some ideas. I also was happy that I was able to insert some of my presence through the wiki as when I created the pages, I included my somewhat wacky sense of humour. It also worked well as one of the tasks asked my students to go home and have a discussion with their parents and even though I was not present, by having the wiki with my personal stamp, the students actually went home and had the talk with their parents. It was great too as when I was back yesterday, the students still remembered the lesson from Wednesday and wanted to discuss the topic in class! To me, that is a success as the students were engaged through the wiki and the supply teacher and still wanted to continue the discussion with me.

One of our school’s new professional mantras is “Make Friends With a Wiki” and I really can’t say enough about its use in the classroom! It really aided me when being off and in only three weeks of school, I’m finding my students are really appreciating all its many uses! I think it also needs to be said that I’m really thankful my school chose this particular teacher to fill in for me as she embraced the technology in my classroom and ran with it! I can say with certainty that I did not expect my third week of school to happen this way, but I’m glad that I was able to share my wiki with this teacher and that she had the opportunity to experience a different style of teaching (even if it wasn’t under the best circumstances…) So if you have some time, follow our school’s suggestion and “Make Friends With a Wiki!”

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