So the other day I was really bummed out seeing all the tweets about the upcoming school year and how excited teachers were to meet their new kiddos because I am no longer in the classroom and am unable to really experience that anymore…or so I thought. This is my third year as an educational technology specialist and I am really beginning to miss working with children. I used to relish those ‘ah ha’ moments and watching their little faces light up when they are engaged and learning something excited. Makes me all warm and tingly inside. 🙂
But today I got that feeling back. About three weeks ago I was working with a large group (about 60) teachers of students with special needs during summer break. Truthfully, some of them were less than thrilled to be there. During one of many days upcoming days of SMART Board professional development, I began the session with the question, “Can a teacher be effective without technology?” Well the answers that I expected were, “of course they can” and “somewhat” and even some no’s.” What I didn’t expect was the answer from one teacher who responded with, “Technology is taking over the classroom and replacing good teaching. That’s what I choose to put my own kids in a school without technology.”
I tried to hide the pained look on my face and stop my mouth from immediately responding to her. My mouth often does so without consulting my brain first, but this time I held back. Shocking, I know!
Well, today I visited that same teacher during her plan time for some one on one classroom support. Imagine my surprise when she was asking me how to add music to her SNB slides. How to resize pictures. How to infinitely clone her base ten blocks on an activity she had created. I tickled pink.
I thought I had a nay-sayer in my new T3 (Transforming Teaching with Technology) group. Instead, she yearned for more knowledge. Once she saw the levels of engagement rise when her students became the number one users of the SMART Board, she was eager for more. She astounded me with the interactrive lessons she had already created and integrated into her low incidence classroom. This same teacher now tells me that she, “Cannot imagine her classroom without the added technology she is already using with her kiddos.”
Oh, by the way, I also felt like Santa when I put a new Flip camera into her hands today. Better yet, I left that classroom beaming from ear to ear when I saw her immediately turn to a Kindergarten student with severe special needs and had the child using the camera immediately.
This teacher was not taking baby steps. She was taking ginormous leaps. She was engaged. She had that ‘ah ha’ moment. She witnessed what quality teaching + technology could do for her kiddos. It made me realize that I do have new students each year. They are my new T3 teachers. I was reminded that the strategies for integrating technology into the curriculum that I teach them are used with hundreds of kids. I was reminded why I chose to leave the classroom for this position.