Rosie Slentz - Teacher Mojo
I was sitting on my couch crying. Teaching is hard. I wasn’t sure I could muster up the magic inside me for another year and school was beginning in a matter of days. My phone rang. I tore off another piece of toilet paper from the roll in my lap, blew my nose, took a deep breath, and kept crying. A couple hours later I listened to my message. It was an invitation to speak at the TEDx event.
I felt like the clouds had parted. Suddenly my mind was racing with all the grand ideas I had been hatching up for my new 5th graders the ideas that had inspired me one night, around midnight, to submit my application to be a speaker. Earlier in the summer pieces had converged to create a project at school that would involve the young reader’s version of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, digital stories (like the Farm Shorts in Petaluma), farm field trips, and student awesomeness. I got up, leaving a trail of wadded up tissues and walked over to my pile of school stuff. The pile where great things come from (I leave these messes all over the house). There is usually a textbook, a current academic book or two that I intend to read, a half full cup of cold coffee, scrawled notes, and my laptop. With renewed purpose I sat down in my yellow chair and hunkered down. I was back on track and excited to work with the kids again.
TED inspires me. Infact I’ve had an ongoing relationship with TED for awhile. A couple years ago I was missing my teacher mojo. I turned to TEDed. The clever videos, quizzes, open ended questions, and links to research made my heart flutter. TED made this girl feel good. I became a TED whore. I just couldn’t get enough. I had a special playlist for 2 minute quickies. I was spending time with TED late into the night, dreaming of TED, talking about TED to my colleagues. Instead of a mix tape, I made videos for TED. I brought TED to my classroom. My students would sigh,(not the same sigh I had) and say, “Oh, it’s TED… Again.”
My coworkers and administration started telling me we didn’t have enough bandwidth at school, but I couldn’t stop seeing TED. I found a way to download TED as an Itunes podcast. TED was always available.TED taught my students and I so much. We learned about the incredible fish farm in Spain, we watched animations of Billy Collin’s poems together, and compared atoms to blueberries. It came as no surprise when my friends heard I would be taking this relationship to the next level to the X level. I would be speaking at the Humboldt TEDx event.
The information, the beauty, the presentation; this is the kind of teaching I want to provide for my class. I’m thrilled, and daunted to be a part of this experience. My passion for TED and teaching is reignited. And as satisfying as TED is, I’m always left wanting a little more.
– Rosie Slentz