Confessions of a Tech Specialist: Facing the Tough Decisions on Leaving the Classroom

I’m writing this post with a good friend in mind who is an unbelievable classroom teacher and an even more amazing teacher trainer. This is the time of the year that districts across the country are creating or filling jobs of all types…especially in edtech. When you love what you do in the classroom along with loving the “bonus time” given to training teachers…taking the leap can be a difficult step and that’s okay. Leaving the classroom that you love isn’t easy and quite frankly, it shouldn’t be…if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

I loved every single moment with my students and I am a better me because of them. The experiences that I had reaching such diverse learners carries me to this day. When the time came for me to take the leap out of my classroom, I didn’t think that I was ready. I knew in my heart that my time in C105 was over, but my mind wasn’t ready to change.

I remember running into a former student and recent HS graduate…chatting about her path of pursuing her goals and dreams. It was odd that even as I gave her advice, it was as if I were talking into a mirror. As word got around that I was considering a move from the classroom, she sent me an email and I kept it. She wrote…

“Ms. D., you were the best teacher that a lot of us ever had but we saw you as you helped other teachers too. Your face lit up just as much as when you worked with us. You had something that they needed and it’s time for you to go because in your heart, you know that you need to do it.” 

It was at that moment that my journey to where I am now began.

I didn’t become a tech specialist because I loved technology.  I became a tech specialist because I love learning and I deeply feel that technology should be a natural part of that process. I also know that I have a gift in working with learners who struggle and sometimes that includes teachers.

As my good friend ponders her next move and goes in and out of her head questioning her abilities, I have this to say…

If you feel that you want to stay in the classroom, stay there.  If you want to work with teachers, don’t let your fears hold you back from doing it. Own your goals.

Whatever you do, don’t sit there and allow yourself to talk yourself out of your dreams.

If this is what you want…prepare, apply and go after it with a vengeance.

Comments 6

  1. Excellent advice to give your friend. Sometimes schools will work with you to keep a foot in the classroom. At Korea International School when my position become full-time EdTech, it was great for the first two years, but then I started to feel disconnected with students. They allowed me to have a Creative Writing class in the high school, so with my regular EdTech duties, I also had one class to teach. It was a lot of work, but worth it.

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      I would have loved that!! Last year was easier because my job was housed at a high school and I worked specifically with math. This year has been tough because I’m not housed at school but I do get to go to schools in every grade level. That part is certainly a bonus!

  2. This is precisely why there must be opportunities for teachers to work in *and* out of the classroom. It shouldn’t be an either/or proposition. A great teacher shouldn’t be limited to the classroom exclusively. He or she needs to extend her great teaching to others, such as to in-service teachers as instructional coaches/trainers, and to pre-service teachers in schools of education.

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      I agree but I will say that the time and work that goes into support, development and planning of teachers at a large scale is a full time job in and of itself. We actually do have a model in our district where classroom teachers also have a foot in the door of training but it’s a very small crack in that door as the needs of students in their classrooms have to come first. I applaud this district and others for recognizing the need to have people, like myself, with the focus on instructional development that we do. It’s definitely not easy but it is necessary and my work with the students that I love fuels my steps daily.

  3. Interesting article. I am an Undergrad student who wants to go into the EdTech field. I love how we are able to adapt technology to education or just to our everyday lives. I’ve been helping teachers with technology since I was in 2nd grade. While in high school I had the opportunity to do campus and district wide trainings and I love being able to help a teacher incorporate tech into their classroom for the first time or to get them to do things beyond basics.

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      That’s amazing Eric! I knew while I was an undergrad that I would do this as well. I have to say that spending time as a classroom teacher helped me to understand the needs of teachers and students much more. I’m so happy that we have reached a time where people are thinking beyond the tools and more at how we approach student learning. I’m so proud to be on this journey to support and train teachers as they grow.

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