November 11, 2017 by Dr. Robbie Barber
Technology coaches in the school work with classroom teachers to help incorporating technology in the classroom. Do the teachers seek out the coaches? No. Do the teachers automatically trust the coaches? Absolutely not. And the onus is not on the teachers – it’s on the coaches.
Here are three suggestions for education technology coaches to build a working relationship with teachers.
Build relationships. EdTech coaches need to know that they must build relationships with their teachers if they want their trust. I use baked goods, but I’m also there for their complaints and I don’t ever tell a teacher “its easy” or “you should know that,” no matter how I felt. Go to the classroom and watch what’s happening. Can you find one small thing that you can help make it easier for a teacher in a classroom? Start small and earn trust.
Convince Teachers You Will Support Them. “Tech doesn’t work.” “I’m too busy” “This adds to my workload.”
As an Ed Tech coach, you need to convince the teachers that you will be their bridge and support them. When you give them technology in the classroom, do you also show them how to go an alternative route, provide backup systems, or even a hard copy instruction sheet. Believe it or not, most people still absorb more from the printed word than the online words (Alexander & Singer, 2017).
Challenge Assumptions. Having gone into classrooms and assured teachers of your support, can you now start to challenge their assumptions in and out of the classroom? Show a teacher how to flip a lesson in the room. Help them work through the details, set up a station, and allow students to go to the station to review the lesson or make notes on it. Can the student show they learned the flipped lesson? Again, help the teacher create the appropriate method to determine if the student got it. If you can hook the teacher on finding different ways to present a lesson, they will take off on their own. Be the launchpad!
My best advice to a coach is leave your ego at home. Celebrate the teachers’ successes. Always, always think about what you can do to help the teacher improve the student’s learning experience. Encourage and smile when they take off!
Alexander, P. A., and Singer, L. M. (2017). A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens. The Conversation. (2017, October 15). Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/students-learning-education-print-textbooks-screens-study-2017-10.