I have been at this job officially now 3 months and 18 days. People ask me how I like it...do I miss the classroom...definitely yes to both of them. I think I have been here long enough to reflect on what I have learned. Here goes:
You can't get to everyone When I finally realized that I can't get to EVERY teacher about EVERY now innovation, my life became better. Teachers are very busy people, and not everyone wants everything...NOW. Instead, I am relying on my connectors. the ones who want to find out how to do an RSS feed, the ones who want their kids to do a collaborative paper...and I let them spread the word.
Never do anything too fast Last week I inadvertently deleted literally hundreds of blog entries on a teacher's Blackboard page...thinking I had copied them. I was in such a rush to get it done...well, you can figure out what happened.
Move them up the ladder...no matter what rung they are on. Every other week I have a "Tech Tuesday" where teachers come in on their free periods. I have one older teacher who (and she says this) is very technophobic. but she comes to EVERY Tech Tuesday to learn. 1st period I was woking with only her. My agenda was to talk about slick tricks and tools in Word. What we did instead was talk about saving a file on the H-drive at school and how to make folders; she had never done either. She left with a smile and a sense of accomplishment.
Am I a Leader or support person? YES! Going to conferences and bringing back ideas materials and resources is one of my favorite parts of this job. Last week I was planning this sophisticated idea for revamping the research project for our junior English classes...really cool stuff. The phone rang. A math teacher had viewed her weekly eligibility report, and her grades were not calculating correctly. Here I was involved in planning this paradigm shift for research...and she needs me to fix her grade book? Of course. And that is precisely what I did. As excited as I was about the research project...it did not diminish the importance for that teacher to have her grade book function correctly. So I went and fixed the grade book...happily.
Listen, Listen, Listen The idea of cornering teachers with tech ideas to infuse in the class can guarantee you one thing: sitting alone at lunch. Talk to teachers about what they are doing. Have you ever known a teacher who doesn't like to beam, or vent about classes? Then you listen. Listen to the goals, listen to what the teacher wants to do. Then, that's when the research, the saving-to-delicious, the reading, the conferences, and the twittering pay off. Apply what you know to what they need. Give them ideas and tools for what they want to do. That way you become the solution, not the problem.
Always Keep Learning This may be the easiest part. I mean, it seems like the more iIfind out about this gig, the more I expand my PLN, the more humbled I become, and the more I realize, "Man, I have got a lot to learn!"
After teaching English for 24 years, I became the Instructional Tech Coordinator at Downers Grove South High School in Illinois. Outside of school, I savor the 4 "F's" Family, Football, Fishing, and Food!