“It’s weird that no matter what you do with technology, you blink and you’re a dinosaur overnight” – J. Feldstein, math teacher
There is a reason that the field of educational technology exist. There is a reason that school districts have invested in people to bring new ideas to their staff. There is a reason that some classroom teachers are hesitant regarding implementing new ideas into their classrooms, specifically regarding technology. There is a reason, that even with the investment in manpower, this is STILL an issue.
I haven’t been away from the classroom long enough to forget about the normal push and pull of the classroom teacher. At the beginning of the year, deadlines are handed down along with mandates. There’s a new program starting with the expectation that it is implemented and followed through. Updates were applied to the gradebook program and classes won’t load. You’re teaching more kids this year than normal and it seems that all new entrants are placed in your care. Just when you think that you’ve got it all figured out, the technology crew is coming to change the way that you do things again and you are not fully buying it. There’s a test coming and all of your kids are expected to master it the same. I get it.
Today, I worked with teachers from elementary to high school. It was inspiring being around the elementary teachers who were eager to transform their classroom and fully embed seamless technology. It was instructional working with the high school teachers who were clearly in need of some personalized attention. The commonality between them both is that amidst the long hours, looming gradebook deadlines, mandated training and changes that seem to happen by the second…they all were doing all that they could do for their students….and it showed.
As my last session ended today, I didn’t immediately jet for the highway. I stayed behind to answer more questions, update software, connect equipment and have conversations. I learned that concerted efforts must be made to support classroom teachers more. I also learned that in order to understand the overall picture in training, the vision must be communicated effectively, modeled and followed through.
The most important thing that we can do for teachers is to empower them to be seekers of knowledge just as much as they aim for their students to be. We can’t forget that the fundamental skill of a teacher is to meet students where they are and bring them to where they need to be. We must remember to do the same.