Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Little Hand Holding

When I first came to my school 12 years ago, there was a third grade teacher who never took her kids to the computer lab.  She is a wonderful teacher.  She is very structured, has very detailed plans and very high expectations for her kids.  She just would not step foot in the computer lab because of the high possibility that the technology would not do what she wanted and she would be left to wing it.
Fast forward 12 years… this particular teacher (now in 5th grade) checks out the iPad cart from the library. She asks for ways to integrate technology into her lessons. She finds a way to complete projects on the iPads when the computer lab is closed for testing.  She is blogging. And hold on to your hats… She is even flipping part of her Language Arts class this year!

How does this transformation happen you might ask?  I don’t really have the answer.  I do know that 12 years ago when I came to the school and in the spring suggested that we do a lesson in the computer lab, after she stopped hyperventilating, she trusted me enough to meet me in the lab and let me walk her students through creating a Book in a Box PowerPoint.  She saw how engaged the students were and how proud they were of their finished boxes.  I am sure that we had technical difficulties (who doesn’t when they are in front of 23 students?) but we just made a plan B and carried on. 

After that, when I heard her talking about another project they were doing, I would casually mention a technological component and again with promises that I would be there with her, she would cross her fingers, hope I knew what I was doing and venture into the lab again. 

The next year, she asked me if I was available to help her in the lab when it was Book in a Box time again.  I went with her and while she taught the kids what to do, I stood by as a security blanket in case anything went wrong.  Of course, she handled everything fine.

The next year, I caught her going into the lab with the kids BY HERSELF!  I peeked through the window and she was doing the Book in a Box lesson.  Later that day, when I asked why she didn’t let me know, that I would have come to help, she said, “You were busy and I thought I’d try it myself.”

And now look where she is. 

I am proud of this teacher.  I am proud of the risks she takes for her students.  I am proud of her for stepping outside her box 12 years ago and venturing into uncomfortable territory.  And I am proud to see how even though she still does not consider herself “techie”, that she is integrating technology into her space every day.  

So today, on the day after "Dot Day", I realized that all it takes sometimes is a little hand holding to help a person make their mark

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