Tomorrow begins our tech team training. I sit here kicking myself because I had decided to pass the wand to other teacher leaders and bow out….BUT…here I am still part of the team. It’s not that I don’t like being a part, or even that I’m burned out. Neither of those is true. I love being a part of a team and I can’t seem to get burned out on tech. The reason I wanted to pass this year was because I felt like I was force-feeding teachers technology like force-feeding your kids veggies. It was like trying to make kids eat brussel sprouts and spinach because I knew how good those are for you. I felt like maybe it was me. Maybe if someone else were the leader, someone else offering the good-for-you veggies, teachers would come after school, willingly, with smiles, forks in hand ready to dig in. That may be true, but I would like to think not.
Then I read Blogush’s post, Prize the Learner. He hit the nail on the head for me. He talked about “edtechvangelists” and how we expect everyone to happily jump on the tech wagon – and eat their brussel sprouts with a yum, yum. If I modeled how to eat brussel sprouts with a smile and wanted more, then everyone should. Right? But, of course, just like our students, everyone learns and processes change at a different rate; they try new veggies at different times in their lives. As educators, we must “prize the learner” and value their feelings and opinions. DUH! How come teacher leaders forget this when we deal with adult learners? I am guilty. Sorry. Lesson learned.
So as I go to training tomorrow, I vow to listen-not judge, be understanding-not intolerant, and to encourage-not push. I will offer brussel sprouts not force them down even if they are covered in cheese. I will ask the learners what their favorite veggie is and build on that. Technology may change at the speed of light, but people don’t and shouldn’t have to. Teachers should be respected and valued even if they aren’t ready to try brussel sprouts. Maybe learners would smell, and taste new veggies if we “prized the learner” 1st.