Manage 21st Century Teaching Demands

¡Hola! I’m Katie Bordner, and I’m one of the Spanish teachers at City High in Pittsburgh, PA. This fall, I’ll be teaching Eduspire’s World Language Tech Integration class, where I’ll be sharing some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my decade of teaching with my fellow PA teachers.

As I was planning the course, I was looking around the EdTech Internet and kept seeing this image:

21things 21cent teachers do

I thought to myself, “Oh man, I thought I was a 21st-century teacher, but I haven’t done HALF of these!” I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and that I needed to get cracking on being more tech-savvy and connected in social media. And then I ate dinner and went to bed. Because I’m human.

When I woke up, I realized that this list is not a mandate of what truly makes a good 21st-century teacher (even though it could easily be read that way). This list is arbitrary. It’s just an idea generator and a spark of inspiration. 

I have big goals for my future classes — I want to move to a standards-based grading system that incorporates digital badges and gamification. I want to include social justice-related authentic projects for interactive performance assessments, and everything will be aligned to the Common Core, ACTFL Proficiency Levels, and 21st Century Skills. It’s going to be amazing!

It’s also not going to happen “this year.” It’s going to happen very slowly.

So often, the narrative in the media is that the education students receive in today’s schools is outdated. Teachers are feeling intense pressure to transform their classrooms and curriculum to be tech-infused, engaging for all students, and connected to things outside the classroom. And by the way, we should have had this done yesterday.

I’m not suggesting that those goals aren’t worthy of working toward, but I think we should start small and build momentum. It’s common to feel overwhelmed when trying something new and different. Twenty-one things are a lot of new things to try in a school year, and many of those things depend on other things happening first. So change one small thing, once a week or month, and keep moving from there.

Signing up for an Eduspire class can be your one small change. You can explore new ideas, connect with other teachers, and feed off the energy of your class to try something new with support and encouragement from your Eduspire classmates. If you’re a World Language teacher, check out our new World Language Tech Integration course.

As for my future goals for my class, that’s a five-year plan I have ahead of me, at least. I’ll keep chipping away at it little by little each month, but if I try to start all those aspects this September, I’ll be needing Spring Break in October.

Teachers are in it for the long haul. The 21st century lasts for a hundred years, so there’s no reason why we have to do all 21 things (and more) this year. Be intentional and start small. I’d love to help champion you while you try something new! Reach out to me on Twitter @mskbordner and share your journey with me.