Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Becoming a teacher, or as I like to call myself, an educator, was not an early choice for me. It was a well pondered decision. I started my Post Graduate Course in Education at the age of 30, at St. Martin's College in Carlisle, England. Before that I had been working for 7 years as an interpreter in a hospital in Northern Italy.
I have now been teaching Modern Foreign Languages for 7 years, 4 of which in Rome, two in the UK and one and a half in Dubai.
If I look back, there is one thing that particularly makes me think. Seven years is not a great deal of time in the grand scale of things. However, in 2005, when I started my PGCE, I was not using any of the digital tools that I can access now from my classroom. I was taught how to use an OHP, how to draw on an OHT and print and photocopy one. I was carrying big, heavy folders of resources, printouts and photocopies wherever I went.
Seven years on and all my resources are now 'weightless'. I can access them anywhere I want. In Dubai, the UK and in Italy, as I am doing right now sitting in my mum's living room.
The changes we are experiencing are happening at an amazing speed: we are constantly connected to and interacting with a parallel reality. I firmly believe that we need to embrace all of the uncountable opportunities that it offers. Like it or not, we all left and are still leaving a digital footprint whatever we do and wherever we go. It is our responsibility to make the best out of it and leave a positive footprint behind us. And it is our responsibility to help our students, the digital natives, do the same.
As an educator, my prime objective is to educate my students. Teaching them how to ask for directions in Spanish or Italian is part of my job, but there is much more to it. It is not a question of tranferring 'knowledge' anymore.
Information and data are accessible anywhere just with the click of a mouse or a tap on our mobiles. Our job as educators is to give the new generations the tools they need to access this plethora of information on the web and use it in the best possible way. We need to promote fundamental skills that will allow them to live and work successfully in a digital era, such select and manipulate information and use it to solve the problems that they may face.