While I was sitting out in my campsite early Monday morning with beautiful Casco Bay (I’m obsessed, I know) in front of me, I finished “The Knockoff” by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza. I know I am a little late to the party, but this book is worth celebrating! The basis, without giving too much away, is a story of a magazine editor in chief, maybe a more kind, down to earth version of Anna Wintour, that comes back to work after beating breast cancer, to find that her fashion magazine is joining the digital age, and her Techb*tch former assistant is now at the helm. It’s a tale of the struggle between adapting to the new without losing what was good about the old. I absolutely devoured it.
Being a teacher, I see this daily. Older teachers who began their careers in the late 70s and 80s are forced everyday to confront and accept or hide from technology. Our lesson plans, professional development, licensure, schedules, evaluation tools, and all important memos are digital. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “What? I didn’t know about that? Oh, it was in an email?” Half the room rolls their eyes, hopefully inwardly, like what have you done all day if you haven’t read your emails, and half the room sympathizes thinking ummmm hello there are more important things to do than read emails, like teach?
The digital age has made teaching “stuff” easier to track and share, but just like Imogen, our editor in chief in “The Knockoff” feels like turning her magazine to just an app has made the content flat instead of rich, I also feel that digitalizing teaching can kill our creativity a bit. I try to find a balance between over organizing in my google forms, lesson plan templates, and online grading with those precious spontaneous teaching moments that you can’t plan for. Those moments make your teaching come alive and become meaningful for a student. With limited time and standardized testing, it is not always easy. I try to remember, our passion is really our craft and putting everything on the internet is just our new version of the craft fair. Its the way we reach our customers/stakeholders. Don’t work against the internet, work with it, and find those understanding coworkers or friends that are somewhere between eyeball rollers and complete sympathizers. You don’t need someone to patronize you or commiserate with, you need encouragement and patient instruction, we all do every once in a while.
My copy of “The Knockoff” was from my town library, it retails for upwards of $13. Buy your ebooks for when you need them, maybe traveling, use your library and save money when you can!!