It is too much.
I want to be able to attend an EdCamp to learn. But I need to finish grading these essays and tests to give timely feedback to my students. I want to integrate technology in a seamless way, but I have to have the time to explore the options. I want to experiment with new apps with my students, but cannot afford to spend an inordinate amount of time testing which program is the most effective. Believe me, I am fully supportive of learning through experimentation. But the reality is, with only a specific number of hours in the classroom to cover content, ongoing experimentation simply is not realistic.
I think what bothers me about the explosion of options now available to educators is that I am now a consumer of information, materials, and products for which I am expected to be an expert without the chance to hone that expertise. I do use my #PLN to help narrow down which apps, software and products are the most effective for my needs, but several times, doing so has lead to a dead end that cost me valuable time. I would love to be a test class for many upcoming programs. I have piloted several with my students, and have helped others with design modifications to make them more classroom user friendly. But each time I offer my expertise (for free), I am losing my non-student working time. All language arts teachers know how much time is spent outside of school providing feedback to students. Add to that the new self-directed personal learning, previewing media resources ("Check out this video/podcast/article for your students!"), trying new apps, and all I want is for Calgon to take me away.
I'm not needing a vacation from school or my students. They are both wonderful. Really. I need to turn off the ever-increasing volume of the social media frenzy that tells me I can do a "better" job of teaching if I just use [fill in tech tool here]. "Engage more students with [app name here]!" The list of books by educators for educators has exploded in the last couple of years. When am I supposed to read these? I want to immerse myself in another world...if I have the down time.
I won't be reading my Twitter feed today. I simply cannot keep switching back and forth between the feed and the student essays I am grading. As soon as I focus on one, I feel guilty for not looking at the other. Balancing life as a teacher has never been simple. But lately, the scales have tipped as the exploration of technology in the classroom has become a guise for career-based learning and being a 21st century educator. Twitter chats are the new country club. If you are not there, you are not part of the in crowd. Yes, everyone is welcome on Twitter, but only if the content is positive.
Maybe I just need a technology vacation. Oh wait, I can't do that. The essays, pre-writing, and grade book are all online.