I’m so excited to be kicking off 2017 with some new training offerings for teachers. It also means I get to play around on Canva and create some awesome flyers. I’m seriously obsessed with that site; it’s so addictive!
I’m continuing to work on getting more schools within our district using G-Suite to a higher level. It is a challenge to balance these offerings with other, non-Google trainings, since not every school in the district is a Google school (yet). That may be another blog post for another time…Consistency, people!
Here’s what I’m struggling with, and my situation may be unique to my particular district, but perhaps some of the challenges will resonate with you.
- The teachers in this district have vastly different technology skill levels and desires to learn more technology. For example, I worked with a teacher today who did not know how to attach a Word document to an email. I have had other teachers wanting me to show them ways to get their students podcasting. We’re all over the map here. How can you offer a training that is inclusive, meets the needs of the attendees, and is high quality? I know this is a challenge teachers struggle with in their classrooms, too.
- There is no time. Literally, there is no time. The teachers do not have a planning period. After school is often filled with clubs, meetings, interventions, etc. Often I am sitting with a teacher trying to plan, while he or she is managing a classroom. It’s certainly not ideal, and really not even functional. There must be other schools out there that have some time challenges. How do you address them?
- Unpreparedness. Now, this is not a knock on teachers personally. I used to be in the classroom, and I get it – you make hundreds of decisions every single hour. How can you be expected to remember usernames and passwords, too?! Right. Everything requires a username and password these days, so finding a system that works is crucial. (And by that I don’t mean a list of passwords taped to your desk next to your computer…) I continue to provide a “You will need _____” list with my training offerings so that teachers know. And yet…I still struggle with teachers being able to access their accounts or bring their devices to a technology training.
A lot of this is cultural change and shifts in expectation. For a lot of teachers, they are used to low-quality, sit and get PD, presented by someone who doesn’t know them and isn’t invested in their role in the District. So many companies include PD when you purchase their products, but it is often a one-and-done kind of thing, and teachers have been conditioned to know that these types of trainings are not very engaging and often not all that useful. I continue to keep high standards for my teachers. While I cannot provide one-on-one support for all teachers in all 27 schools, I am doing my best to provide a comprehensive set of training sessions as well as continue to work on building relationships. Capacity building is huge, so I have worked to identify teachers who are tech leaders in their buildings and tap into their willingness to try new things.
How do you handle some of these challenges?
Any suggestions you’d like to share?