When I walked into my new school last year as a first-year I was asked with the rest of the staff what my goal for the year was. I, of course, having had some mild success using a podcast and a blog before, very confidently responded:
I am going to set up a wiki site and use it extensively throughout the year. Perhaps they'll put podcasts on it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
That's about as far as I got with the idea.
I was so badly shell-shocked my first month in the classroom that I was paranoid about using computers at all. I actually did the exact opposite of using a wiki- I killed about a tree a day making copies the ENTIRE year. Even after the first-year science teacher across the hall was using them semi-frequently, I wasn't convinced that my management was good enough to prevent a laptop from being thrown across the room. We only used computers during the last couple weeks of school to implement a pilot for our 1:1 initiative. Even that was like slowly wading into ice-cold water in the beach end of a swimming pool in May- carefully, painfully, and eventually accepting the fact that it's going to be miserable for a bit, but then it's going to be a great time.
This year things will be different. We have our 1:1 laptop initiative and I think that our teaching staff is strong enough to roll it out in a way that will be highly beneficial to our students. Even so, I wish I had made the decision to use laptops earlier in the year last year. While I was inexperienced and frightened by possibility of something going terribly wrong, I realistically could have used the technology much earlier than I did.
Advice for new teachers: Even if your classroom seems to still be in the crapper come third marking period, don't sell youself short on your ability to try a few new things before the end of the year. The first year is about survival, but you still want to learn as much as possible so your second year will go much better. That means you need to stick to whatever routines are working, but try new things out that go along with those routines.
Today's Wine: Cataldo Nero D'Avola. Same variety out of Sicily as a post a bit ago. This one was at Pescatore Restaurant in Midtown on the east side. The seafood salad in their tapas bar is amazing, and the prices are great.