Meet the Teacher: Amanda Clarke

Welcome to Meet the Teacher – CodeMonkey’s blog segment where teachers from all over the world share their experiences on what it’s like being an educator. Today’s post features Amanda Clarke who is a Pre K – 4th Computer Lab Para Educator at Mount Lebanon Elementary School in West Lebanon, NH.

I love working with children, always have even at a young age.  Working to make a difference in children’s lives has been a goal of mine.  I am not a teacher in a regular classroom setting but a para educator that was given the opportunity to run our computer lab because the love that I have for technology and the drive that I have to expose our students and staff to it all.  I am consistently going to professional development workshops and watching online professional development videos so that I can teach others what I have learned.  It is the students that keep me going, that give me the drive and love that I have for what I do. 

I am definitely a connected educator.  In our computer lab I teach students how to do many different things such as how to keyboard so that they can be faster and more accurate while typing, all about their individual Google Drives and how to use them, how to use QR Codes, and as of this year I have been teaching about algorithms and coding.  I am always trying to find new things in technology to learn about and then to teach my coworkers and students.  Keeping up to date on 21st century technology should be important for everyone.  The world is changing constantly and technology is a big part of that.  Staying on top of those changes keeps me informed and up to date on what my students should be learning about.  Being involved with 21st century technology keeps us all connected to the world in ways that we didn’t think could be possible.  I want my students to know what is out there, how this is changing their world, and the career opportunities that they could have when they grow up.

There is a great joy that you feel when you work with children.  When you see them succeed at something that they have been working so hard on it fills your heart and you can’t help but smile and celebrate with them.  Working with children for so many years has encouraged me to continue learning so that I can be a better educator, so that I can provide my students with the best information about 21st technology.  I know that what I teach them will continue on with them and that it will help them with future challenges that they face.

Working with children shows that there is great hope for our future.  There are children that have high hopes for the world and want to make a difference when they are older.  In the mean time we teach them what they can do now to make a difference because even the smallest change can make a great impact on the world. 

It’s important to me that my students know how important they are, that they know that they are loved and we are providing them with the best education we can give them.  I treat them all equally and as if they were my own children.  We come from a very large diverse community where some kids in their communities feel that diversity.  It’s important to me that when they come to school they all feel united, that diversity doesn’t mean we are a divided community. 

My advice to teachers who are now introducing technology into their classrooms would be to get ready for an exciting ride.  There is so much to learn and your students will be very excited to learn a new part of technology.  With some things our students know more about technology than we do, so for them to learn more gets to be a fun adventure for them.  With things like coding, I’ve had kids get excited to learn about it because that’s what their parents do for work and now they can talk to their parents about it.  They can make new connections with the world, peers, and family with what they learn about in technology.

When I learned about coding and all of the great opportunities that it can bring my students I immediately jumped on the wagon.  I became very excited about the many programs that are available for students and all of the lesson plans that have been designed to help educators like myself.  Once I began to teach my students about coding things really took off!  They were so excited to be able to have the opportunity to have this great opportunity.  Students who have a harder time with attention have really been focused during coding lessons and work harder at their other schooling so that they can get to have the time to code.  There are kindergartners and first graders who have really taken to coding and want more available to them.  Second, third, and fourth graders are bringing coding to levels that I didn’t imagine they would get to.  I am so happy that there are many online resources geared towards children that teach them 21st century technology.”