I like change. One might say that I live for and even thrive on change. I’ve willingly changed my teaching position just because I feel the need to do so. I was a first grade teacher, a second grade teacher and now a technology teacher. A few years into my career as a technology teacher, a colleague shared the Technology Integration Matrix (I found the link in my diigo. I tagged it on April 18, 2008.) I remember feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it as a Technology Teacher/Coach newbie. I had a huge sense of “wow” looking at it and trying to dissect it. But I was up for the challenge and excited about how I could use the information to move teachers and students into 21st Century learning. Fast forward 6 years and here I am seeing it again in a MOOCed, shared out on twitter. When I saw it again, it stopped me in my tracks, like seeing an image of an old friend who you’ve lost touch with. My first thought was, “I am a total failure at this coaching thing. I’ve been at this for over six years and I dropped the ball with helping teachers truly integrate technology.” Seeing it made me feel like I just bombed the final.
When I first took this position, I was excited about teaching others the possibilities of how technology can make our teaching lives easier and we can engage students in a way like never before. I started out eager to share all of what I was learning and get 21st Century Skills a basic part of our everyday teaching and learning. I’m sad to say that it didn’t go down like that. Instead my excitement was met with all the usual thinking of the day: “I don’t have time to learn that,” “That won’t work”, “What we are doing is just fine, why change it?” and one of my favorites, “we need equality in what is being done, work with everyone equally”. It was quite a laundry list of reasons not to integrate technology, so I quietly found teachers interested in learning and just focused on them, not wanting to disturb the delicate balance of being a teacher/coach. Not stepping over the bounds of being a peer. I lost the will to fight for what I thought was important. I lost the urgency to generate change.
Today I am seeing more clearly that I let the teachers down, but more importantly, I let down all the students that have passed through these halls since I took this position. I allowed others negativity, influence and wishy-washy leadership effect my own learning and desires to see change take place in my school. It’s time for change. It’s time to no longer accept the weak excuses of many who don’t even know the discussion happening beyond their classroom walls. It’s time to move people beyond themselves and their classroom.
My plan is to use a faculty meeting to start conversations. From those conversations, my hope is that teachers will start asking more questions and start rethinking what they’ve always done. How are you sharing out and coaching teachers? What is your plan?