Whether you are a Technology Facilitator:
The start of any school year whether traditional or year round calendar means you are usually extremely busy taking care of the needs of others before you get to plan or prepare for your year!
But who better? We usually know what works, what is needed and how to supply it, find it, or fix it or get it fixed! Rather than be frustrated try to remember to take care of what you need before those teacher workdays that require us/you take care of others. Have I been successful in doing so? Not always. And in some cases it’s almost impossible to get ready for training on new products or new initiatives when information is rolled out very shortly before training is required. But that’s just how it is. What helps is to remember and recognize this is a truth and to expect it rather than be surprised by it. Personally over the past two to three years I view the two to three weeks at the start of any academic year as boot camp– when the going gets tough the tough get going!! The optimistic and realistic me knows and hopes this is not the way it will be the whole academic year but it is the way it is now, as Shakespeare’s The Tempest Antonio states “what’s past is prologue”.
And the truth is I like helping people. I do. I like the field of education and consider myself a life long learner. Do you?
Part of helping teachers and staff is calming fears as we move to newer ways of doing things whether it’s Common Core or new technology tools. Some of us have the mindset if it “ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This Apple computer was a wonder in 1983 which many mastered but change occurred. And change came more slowly it seems then but today it seems exponential. This is truly overwhelming to many teachers whether new or veteran. They feel they no sooner master something before they are asked to learn a different program. I have felt the same way.
Negative thinking applies to adult learners just as it does to younger learners. How often have we heard “If you think you can, you will, and if you think you can’t you won’t!” Does that mean adults or younger learners should not be allowed to express concern or negative thoughts? No! Listening is the first step in helping, and being empathetic is integral to helping. Expressing concern is also a way for school leaders to explain what the program is expected to do, how it will be beneficial, and yes, even listen to those fears/concern of those being asked to implement something new. All of us have our fears, and often stating the fear helps us get past it. (You know –the 800 pound gorilla in the room!) In my opinion stating fear is being honest with oneself, which allows an individual/me to move beyond the fear and begin to change or learn. It is my belief we will all get there eventually– as long as we don’t give up–although not everyone will be at the front of the line. For every learner the “so what” factor, especially today when all of us want authentic learning is critical. Tell me why this is better. What is this going to solve? Why would I want to change? (Not just because it is a mandate.)
How exciting to be able to help others discover new technology tools that reach every student and help them grasp new concepts better, or manage a classroom better, or help students and teachers find a really great book or online resource that speaks to their curriculum or to their lives! Soon it will be time to implement those personal goals I set for myself in working with teachers and students, and that’s where the real fun and excitement begins for me. How about you? What do you like about what you do for most of your day? Is this your passion? Is this a means to an end?