This past year the city in which I live has implemented a new program called Cyber Seniors where a youth is partnered up with a senior to teach them new ways to use technology. I was really excited when I heard about it because it’s a perfect opportunity to hone in my teaching abilities. So I called up the program coordinator and signed up! Going into this program I thought it would be really simple to teach seniors how to use devices like iPhones, tablets and laptops, because they are so simple for me to use. Boy was I wrong. This program really taught me some valuable lessons about teaching.
By volunteering with this program it really made me think about how adaptable teachers need to be in their methods of teaching. Often times I would explain how to do something on a device, but they wouldn’t understand what I was trying to explain, so I would have to find another way to teach them the same skill.
Another thing I’ve learned about teaching is how important it is to build a relationship with you students, as it aids in their learning. I found that the first few sessions with my senior it was a challenge to connect with them and teach them I away that was effective for them. Once I realized that my senior learned in a different way than I did, I decided to take an entire session and just talk to them and try to learn about how they think and learn. After doing this, I was able to know more about my senior, and adapt my lessons to a way in which my Cyber Senior would learn best.
One of the final things I learned about teaching through my experience with Cyber Seniors is the importance of being a lifelong learner. My senior had rejected technology for the past 20 years as he deemed it as something that was A) too hard and B) is something that would die out before it became popular. After spending many years not utilizing technology, my senior finally decided to give it a shot and boy was he impressed about all of the things technology could do! This goes to show how important it is to be a lifelong learner.
After finishing two sessions of Cyber Seniors, I can confidently say that is a program that has helped me improve my teaching skills, and has allowed for me to professionally grow. I highly recommend Cyber Seniors to anyone who is going into education, or just wants to connect with someone new in the community!
Thanks for reading!
-Miss Krystin Carroll
*Above you can see a picture of me and my Cyber Senior.