What Would Yours Look Like?

I was completely distracted this morning when reading this story.

Haunting chalkboard drawings, frozen in time for 100 years, discovered in Oklahoma school

It wasn’t the Oklahoma factor.  I’ve never been there.

Actually, I had done a sort of similar thing in one of my first jobs.  It was a tradition at the swimming pool where I worked that you signed the wall with your year of employment for the new people to see.  Of course, that’s long been painted over but maybe if you dug deep enough?

In this case, it’s the chalkboard reference, although I’ve always known them as blackboards.

If you’ve ever shared a classroom with someone else, I’m sure that you’ve done it.  You walk in the room, look around and professional curiosity makes you wonder things like “I wonder what they learned here today”, “Wow, they have horrible handwriting”, “Students wrote their learning on the blackboards”, “That’s not right – should I tell her?”, “You’re not obviously an artist…”, and probably a million other things.

By nature, teachers are critical.  That’s part of what we do!

Certainly things have changed considerably since I started teaching.  I recall chalk dust everywhere, a slate blackboard on the side, a synthetic blackboard at the front, dry cleaning bills for suit jackets (Yeah, I wore them my first couple of years teaching and for job interview days)…  I remember teaching the same subject two periods in a row and erasing the blackboards between classes so that I could develop the same programming concept again…

Magically, at the end of every day, the blackboards were cleaned and washed and it was ready to go for the next day.  We had an amazing caretaker.

But imagine one day where he didn’t do his thing and the blackboards were covered over and then revealed years later.  Imagine how today’s teaching would look in the eyes of someone from the future.  I’m looking at you, Elroy Jetson.

“They actually taught computers to operate line by line?”  How quaint!

Of course, the concept of lessons being on blackboards isn’t the same today as it was in the photos of this story.

Today’s equivalent would be someone in the future finding your computer or your backup and digging through your old lessons.

What would they find?  Would you be proud of what you did?  Are the concepts dated and tied to today’s thinking and pedagogy?  How primitive would they be if education in the future finally figures it all out?

What would your “message in a bottle” look like?

2 thoughts on “What Would Yours Look Like?

  1. I almost never write on the board. The whiteboard in my room is used to project things from my computer. While I demonstrate writing code a lot I do so in an IDE projected in front of the class. I wonder about the impermanence of bits and bytes from time to time. What do we lose? Possibly a lot.

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