Some of my favourite teaching moments are unplanned but eventuate due to an unintentional or spontaneous connection. For example, last week, I quickly logged on to gmail at home before I came to school. The chat element appeared active, and Lorraine Leo, my wonderful e-colleague from Boston, asked if I would like to see the snow falling on her school. Quickly logging onto skype, I was able to speak to her and share video imagery. So, much to my delight, her web camera was positioned to the window and I saw the beautiful snow falling from the sky on whitened grounds and buildings. (It never snows here, ever! Well, one very unusual weather day, two years ago, saw a very slight amount fall on the ground 20 mins away).
I quickly packed my things for school, hurriedly went to staff briefing, then form assembly and onto lesson one with my year 12 students. Next minute, my skype window popped up and it was another classroom2.0 colleague from Nepal, Govinda. He teaches at a small rural school just outside the capital city of Nepal. I quickly messaged him back and said I was in class. He apologised and I was about to turn off skype, when I thought ‘here is a teachable moment”! So, as my year 12 students were studying communication, input and output devices, we had the perfect example happening in front of us. It was 4:15am and when the students queried why he was up so early, he responded that their power is cut off 14 hours per day, so he has to get up and make the most of it, when it is on.
Soon, Govinda and I were sending each other files, through skype, both text and images so that we could share what our schools and classes looked like.Many students do not have pens or books, so he is looking for help and sponsorship. Speaking with him has certainly given us something to thing about – poverty, our lifestyle, different cultures etc. He is trying to teach his students about computers, even though they do not have computers.
We learnt about real poverty from someone who experiences it and it was in real time. How can we help them?