Working with the Willing

So a new school year is upon us, as today was the first day for students at ISB. I spent the first hour helping new middle school students find their way around the school….what fun. ISB set a new record for the amount of new students this year. A HUGE turn around year with 100s of families leaving and 100s more filling their place. It always makes me wonder what’s going on in the bigger picture that you have this kind of turn around in a year…..interesting….and I have no answer.

As the new year begins though I’m thinking about my job and once again supporting teachers. This is a touchy subject and the reason why I’m putting it out there is to see where everyone else is on this idea.

My job is to support teachers in using technology in their classroom. I don’t have any classes of my own I support full time. But I’m supporting an initiative that we all believe in but isn’t required. It’s not required that my teachers use technology. It’s not required that they rethink how they teach in the era of open access to content. They’re not required to rethink education as they know it. Their job is to teach….and they do a good job at it. We had 100% pass rate of IB diploma students last year….again. Our students continue to get into top colleges and universities around the world and parent feedback continues to come back that we’re doing a hell of a job educating their children. 

So, why do we need to change?

Why do we need to rethink education?

Why do we have to even worry about technology?

and

Why do they have to use me?

 

The answer is they don’t. Some choose to at different times, some are really thinking about the future and where this is all leading and other classrooms I never see the inside of.

I’m here because teachers, at some level, are forced to use technology. E-mail, Moodle, PowerSchool are the three programs that everyone has to use. So yes….I’m need to support the use of these with teachers, but not in learning, not with students, basically so teachers can do their job. 

And I have no problem doing that…..they’re just paying me a lot of money to be an application support person.

So it comes down to working with the willing. Working with those teachers who are thinking about doing things different, thinking about their students, their lives, what they’ve grown up with, and how that might affect them in and out of the classroom. It’s working with teachers who are willing to take risks, to try something new, to be uncomfortable. 

A colleague of mine often refers to us a “used car sales people” and that’s what I feel like we are sometimes. We’re selling a product, and idea, a method that doesn’t need to be used….is not mandated. Sure it’s supported IF teachers decide they want to try it. But at the end of the day they don’t need to.

So we end up with some kids getting 21st Century Skills. Those kids who happen to have teachers who are thinking about searching, finding content, communicating, and using global connections. Other kids, who just so happen to never get the right teacher leave our system not getting those skills. Is that OK? Or is that just the way it is. 

So I work with the willing. Those that ask me for help, those that I team teach with, that we explore new options with. I work with the willing because that’s who wants to work with me…..on a voluntary basis…and that’s really where my job stands. 

I’m here to help

If you want help

If not…that’s OK…I’m here if you need me

Is it OK to only work with the willing? Or is this a school thing?

Photo Credit: Superkimbo