In case some of you don't really know anything about me or think that somehow I've been doing this forever – this interview I did on Certification Map gives you some background (if you really wanted to know.)
Vicki Davis teaches business and technology courses at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia, which includes eighth grade Keyboarding, ninth grade Computer Fundamentals, tenth grade Introduction to Computer Science and a rotating series of electives including Current Events, Accounting, Digital Graphic Design, and Digital Filmmaking. Vicki is also the IT director for the school. Vicki has been teaching at Westwood for 7 years. Previously, she taught teachers and businesses how to effectively use technology in their careers and also taught adult technology courses for a local college.
Below is our interview with Vicki:
What inspired you to teach?
My mother founded our technology lab at Westwood in 1991 and is a hero of mine. I have three children at our school and want them to have the best of technology in ways that will help them learn. Two of my three children need technology to learn at their best and so I came here to make it happen!
What classroom methods are most helpful in pushing students towards their goals?
I don’t like the term push because that implies that students don’t have intrinsic motivation of their own. I think that differentiated instruction and its power to reach the different learning styles and tap into the different interests of students is the best because it encompasses so much of good teaching. The best teaching harnesses the power of student learning styles and interests to help students find their passion about the topic you’re teaching (their “angle”) and then in many ways it turns from the teacher pushing it to the teacher facilitating it. And at some point for me, after the year gets going and students become engaged, they are literally flying and I’m just hitching a ride on the wing as they soar into their own personal learning networks and become proficient at technology.
What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you started in the classroom?
I was lucky because my Mom and sister told me what every new teacher needs to know. “Your first year is the worst!” It was so true in a thousand ways, partially from my own inexperience but also because parents (and students) are testing the new teacher on the block. I wish that someone had talked to me about “the look” and the power of it. If you can master “the look” and discipline of proximity (kids close to you rarely act up) then you can fill your classroom with positive words and rarely have to say anything negative. Fred Jones’ Tools for Teaching talks about this technique very well.
Rest on Teacher Certification
It ends with this…
…If I ever think I have perfected teaching, it will be time to quit, because all of the best teachers I know are constantly reinventing themselves. I think of our learning lab director, who at 82, still is a prolific reader and adapting and doing new things — if I can capture that true love of teaching and dedication to learning in my life and career, perhaps at the end I can truly say I was good part of the most noble profession on earth next to parenting… teaching.
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