I was lucky enough this past week to visit some classrooms and see teachers using Sketchpad in various ways. It’s been seven years since I was in the classroom myself, so for me it was like coming home. It brought back a lot of great memories, though also some reminders of some not-so-great things that teachers have to deal with on a daily basis.
I want to share some of my observations and insights to basically sing the praises of teachers. I want to shout out to those critics of teachers and public school classrooms that until you see what a teacher faces everyday—and walk a mile in their classroom—you have no idea of the hard work, dedication, and amazing things they are doing. With little thanks and little support. Test scores don’t do justice to the true work of teachers.
I visited a high school ESL geometry class with 41 students, crammed into a small classroom with not enough desks. 41 students speaking six different languages, with one energetic teacher, who spent as much time explaining simple words like “straightedge” as she did focusing on math content. No compasses were available (in a geometry class, let’s remember), so she used various lids from containers for students to draw circles. Sketchpad was used to visually demonstrate and confirm students conjectures from what they were constructing with their lids, rulers, and paper-folding.