Jessica Durboraw LSLT 7377 Dr. Aimee K. Klimczak Week 2: Teacher Interview
Although my twelve year-old perspectives often loathed having teachers as parents, in retrospect it presented great opportunity and educational work ethic to my upbringing. While my mother and father existed on two very different factions of the educational system, their views on education and means of implementing both practical skills and formidable instincts to the coming world prepared me enter the job market with holistic and practical skills as well as the self-learnedness to seek new opportunity and diversify my job skills.
My mother, Mary Ann Durboraw is a very traditional secondary schoolteacher specializing in FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences). With a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Education, she initially entered the Minnesota Public School System as an educational aide to BD (Behavioral Disorder) and LD (Learning Disabled) children. After returning to school in Missouri for certification in teaching and FACS, she entered the Columbia Public School system to teach Family and Consumer Sciences, and just this year a Careers class focusing on long-range goal development and job skills.
Currently teaching at Jefferson Junior High School, she is limited in the technology she is able to utilize in her lesson plans. While she employs standard kitchen equipment to complete cooking demonstrations and activities, her traditional teaching lesson plans are structured in standard lecture/note instruction. The school has two computer labs available for reserved use and no classroom computers, smart boards or data projectors to provide consistent implementation. In addition, due to economic circumstance, many of the student population have an uneven compatibility with the PC hardware/software that would be both helpful and useful for teaching. She herself doesnât have an extensive background or skill in most of the standard hardware/software, making even the possibility of having an infinite amount of technology a finite exposition. She uses basic software on a home computer and email to manage grades, worksheets, and a database for storing grades for the district.
Her years of teaching have not left her without new ideas and hope to implement technology into her classroom. A small computer lab for students to research recipes, individual ingredients and diet and exercise would make lesson plans more interactive and fun for the class, whether individually or in group study. A smart board would also encourage interactive, visual and more retentive learning, especially for kids with special needs or learning disorders who struggle with math, especially the fractions found in most recipes.
Many of my motherâs âwish listâ ideas were the result of technology and teaching methods my father, John Durboraw employed in his traditional and distance-learning classrooms. Influenced by 3M and military extended learning courses and conferences, he completed a Masters through distance learning at Colorado State University. At the time, distance-learning was really just becoming a viable option to continue education. Lectures were sent each week via VHS, with tests and papers submitted through email. Interested in the idea of career and personal enrichment through continued education, my father began teaching and taking per course classes upon moving to Missouri in 1996, teaching at William Woods University, and Columbia College part-time. Several of these courses were distance learning.He has found great success in the online program Blackboard, traditional textbooks, with supplementary video lectures and .pdfs downloadable from course websites. He feels technology allows him to address the learning styles of a greater number of students. DVD segments allow him to illustrate points of discussion and presentation software helps to break up complicated subject matter in a coordinated and orderly sequence that can be recycled as study notes.
Although they share the same overall goal, my parents face different challenges and employ different technological methods in their teaching positions. The unavailability of basic technology coupled with the uneven student demographic difficulties my mother faces are not a problem for my father. His students are already in careers that implement the software/hardware requirements and possess the computer and skills to manage the course load in a traditional or distance learning course. My father by far has more options and ways of reaching his students through what is now considered an average computer and internet connection leaving traditional tools like textbooks and lectures as supplementary materials, whereas for my mother they are the primary method of instruction. In-class computer technology has yet to be made an âeverydayâ possibility for my mother, who is unable to move beyond using a home computer simply for personal use and simplifying paperwork and lesson plans. Interactive DVDs are also out of the question, because all the television units available for reservation still employ VHS, which are cumbersome and hard to implement diversely.
While it may seem that my fatherâs position in education leaves him holding all the cards, one must not forget that with technology often comes a disconnected community environment that a traditional classroom possesses. In a joint interview, my parents agree that with this community often comes increased retention and communication through diverse and applied thinking. Professional enrichment and distance-learning courses, while having grown to use forum-style discussion boards, often lack the spontaneity and quick thinking that an in-class discussion has. More often than not, group projects arenât a possibility, and with that a sense of comprehensive thinking and sorting through information is lost. This shows that while technology can enrich and diversify the learning experience, it is inescapable that people themselves are an irreplaceable part of the process.