Have you ever felt so outclassed by your kids and your heart breaks because you know they deserve better? Well that's me right now.
They go home and work on their programs...because they want to. They IM at night while I'm on my computer to ask me questions about what they should do. They are on fire about programming. Not just one student but about 10%. That's huge. And you know this program isn't the most reliable. It's crashes, doesn't always like our network so they lose their work and all sorts of other things that might discourage the average kid. But it doesn't matter. They love it when that first object moves forward, makes a noise and they are in CONTROL. They define how the object works and they realize that if they can describe it in words, then they can probably make it happen on the screen. That is HUGE. Just tonight 3 kids were online asking me so many questions, I finally had to make my IM signoff so I could get my work done. If I didn't use IM to talk to my college kids I wouldn't turn it on at all.
Squeak is this awesome programming language but I'm hanging on my fingernails. My kids are so great and I'm working my brain every night to learn as much as I can about ideas that I can use to ask them questions...believe me I gave up thinking I could know more about the actual programming buttons. They discover more stuff all the time. Which is great because then they show it to all of us and then we're all SMARTER!!!!
But I continue to facilitate this group of thinkers and I keep wondering am I doing enough? You might think this group was unique. But they're not. I've had gifted kids, SPED kids and plain old normal kids. Jock kids, quiet kids, boys, girls and nerd kids. They all can do it and end up surprising themselves. Yet I sure don't feel like I do enough to help them move along. I'm not a mathematician and that would really be handy right now. Not because I could teach them math, but that I would get more. Funny isn't it. At 50 I wish I knew more conceptually about how math worked so I could do a better job of asking questions to guide my students.
Anyway I think it would be important because sometimes when they're trying to solve problems in the ideas they're developing, I can't help them. They hit a wall and we run out of solutions to try. Even after we sleep on it and work it over the next day, we can't find a solution. We print out the screenshot of the unsolveables just "in case" someone comes up with a terrific idea in the future, but that doesn't happen very often. It makes me sad that I can't brilliantly led them forward in discovering a way. Maybe that's OK because in the real world they won't be able to solve all the problems they encounter.....
But I was hoping to do better for them. Squeak lets them dream way bigger than I am capable of leading. That's way cool and I won't stop trying and definitely won't stop encouraging them to venture out there. My shortcomings aren't enough to turn us back. They just make me feel like I've failed and I'll have to deal with that. Maybe I can take more math classes or just keep experimenting or maybe just not give up. I don't know.