I’ve been running into educators in my building who seem scared of trying new technology recently. We’ve got a set of iPads that are just starting to be used, my school district is pushing for the use of Google Drive (finally!), and I have confirmation that our tech department will no longer be buying desktops. As my school gets renovated over the next year and a half, we will be transforming our space into what I can only hope will be a school of the future.
But I have a few educators who are not afraid to react to technology like these with wide eyes and the word “no,” as well as others who become extremely frustrated at the drop of a dime.
I truly believe these educators can move forward, but how do I help them be willing to try so that they can?
My mantra about technology is BE FEARLESS! and I try to remind them of that every time we work on something by both saying it out loud and being it myself. If there’s something I don’t know, I will show them how I try to figure things out so that I learn it.
I had one awesome moment recently where one teacher figured out how to comment on a Google document all on her own just by messing around. She was one of the “no” teachers to begin with.
But for the most part, I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. We do have a new tech facilitator in our building for eight hours a week, so maybe that will translate into helping. But I feel like our default is to just offer professional development on things, and I’m not sure that taking up more of teachers’ time is a solution. Actually, in some cases, I’m sure that just adds to their frustration.
I don’t want these good educators to be unable to evolve and adapt! What else can I be doing or trying?
This article from April 30, 2011 speaks to me on so many levels. It is titled “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries.”
First, the authors make an excellent point about blaming teachers for failing schools using a really good metaphor.
Then they hit you with numbers I am familiar with, but I know some members of society aren’t. “Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education…The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000.”
As I’ve started this school year, at a new school for me and one that is in the beginning stages of a huge transition, I can’t help but notice the amount of work the teachers around me are doing. It’s staggering. Absolutely, utterly staggering.
Once, when I was still a classroom teacher and not a librarian, I kept a spreadsheet of how much I worked for one month, what time I got to school, what time I left school, hours spent in actual teaching, hours spent in planning, how much of my planning time was taken away from me, hours spent grading at home… I kept track of everything I could think of. That spreadsheet turned out to be terrifying.
And, in the end, I only made $9.17 an hour that month.
That’s about the same as what I made when I worked part-time at a tanning salon after school my first three years of teaching.
Please. Support public education. Our future depends on it.
Remember how excited I was before the school year started? Well, I am equally exhausted right now, one week and one day into the school year.
Let’s analyze for a minute. I was really excited about the year for a number of reasons. I hadn’t worked in a school, for real, on a full-time basis, in 2.5 years, and I really missed it. I also hadn’t worked in a collaborative environment in 2.5 years; I had been sitting in an office, doing a lot of staring at a computer screen. I’m an extrovert, truly and thoroughly; I need other people to do just about anything. I was also bored because, truth be told, I hadn’t actually done much of anything that involved being a real adult with many important things to do since probably mid-April. My brain actually desired and needed something to work on. And, because of my awesome MSLS program, I had gotten really, really excited about being a librarian in a school setting.
Now I’m also exhausted. I’m exhausted because I came into a program that hadn’t had a media specialist in a couple of years. There were no policies and procedures for the Media Center; there was no collection development policy. There was STUFF. EVERYWHERE. Things were not set up or connected. In fact, I discovered two more major things in the last two days that are still not ready to be used to students that I had assumed were ready to go because, well, why aren’t they ready to go exactly? Add to the challenges of coming into this program that I am in a school system I haven’t worked in before as a new hire and therefore have a bunch of paperwork things to accomplish and the not-so-small matter of having to be on campus by 6:45 am…
This girl is tired.
But. And I put a period there because there is a big, silver lining here. But I am both excited and exhausted. Really good things are happening at the school, in my program, and I’m creating a lot of opportunities and facing down a lot of challenges. I’m still so excited about the whole dang thing! It makes me so happy!