I have always been nervous and cautious as a teacher because I always think that a teacher’s responsibility goes far beyond than just preparing lesson plans, teaching classes and evaluating student progress. It’s not just a profession of educating others but also a profession of care, respect, integrity, trust and commitment. Educators play an important role in building a society, a society of people, a society of well behaved and responsible citizens. Teachers are like role models for their students. Kids follow what and how teachers talk and act and then they try to do the same. A child spends an average of 8 hours per day at school which, collectively, is a big chunk of his life. I believe that I am true to be cautious because it is my duty to contribute my part as an educator with honesty and full devotion to help society get well educated and responsible citizens.
Technology has given us another dimension to look at when working with kids at school. It has increased demands to be pro-active in our teaching practices to adopt technology and to be good at using it in our classrooms because our kids are born in a digital world. “The average digital birth of children happens at about 6 months”. Today’s child lives in technology, we can’t just take it away from them in the classroom. Instead, we will have to adapt our teaching practices according to today’s generation. Kids need to be educated on how they should live in the digital world, they need to made aware of their responsibilities as a digital citizen, they need to know how to interact with people online, they need to know what are their limits, they need to know how to balance their online and offline lives, they need to know what are the impacts of technology on their lives and how to deal with them, they need to know how to use it positively and how to deal with it if something goes wrong. They need to understand that every single moment of their online presence is being captured permanently somewhere and if they are not cautious online then this digital world might not let it die down for the rest of their lives. Amanda Todd is one of the victims of cyber bullying and we should learn from her life by educating kids the facts and realities of online world. In the past, we had controlled and closed identities but today it is view-able by millions.
We need to make our kids realize that life is not what we see just online. People are different offline, they just capture and portray happy moments of their lives. Everyone presents an edited version of life on social media, an ideal life and an ideal self. I was reading the article on Medison’s digital identity shared last week in class and I think I will share this story with all my future classes to help them understand, “It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to show people you’re not OK.” Today’s kid need help to better manage different strands of their lives.
Life is not perfect, and we all somehow agree with it. The question is, “How everything can be so perfect with someone as shown on digital media?” We need to convey this to our kids that even people you think are perfect are going through something difficult.
When we look at the babies when they are born, they wear a blank slate. Kids do what they see adults around them are doing. They follow their parents, siblings, teachers, peers and other people around them. I would say teachers are never “offline”, they have to take extra care all the time of what they are doing, speaking, acting, interacting, words and/or writing. As a teacher, it really matters how we interact and how we behave. I don’t see it as a solution anymore of taking technology away from kids because they live in a technological world now, they will find it somehow and somewhere. We need to build a relationship of trusting communication with our students, only then will we be able to educate them better about technology and about their digital identity. As a teacher, if we start talking about technology at an early stage of their lives and make them aware of the ups and downs of this world, help them understand the pros and cons then, I think, they would be in a position to adopt it professionally and with integrity. Again, we would be their role model, by having a professional, authentic, ethical and an inclusive digital identity, we can influence them determine their digital identity.
I am leaving readers of my post with this YouTube video to re-think about importance of digital identity. Thank you for reading my post today.