Saturday, March 3, 2018

Days in Schools are the Best Days

As an ed tech specialist, I truly feel that the days I spend in schools are the best days. There's just nothing like the energy of a school building!

But what do I do in schools?

That's a great question. It looks very different based on my purpose for visiting, and sometimes, what I have planned and what ends up happening are two completely different things! Here are some examples of what I do:

Classroom Observations
Since I'm not directly teaching students anymore, I really appreciate the time I can just sit in classrooms and watch what is going on. It helps keep me connected to the day-to-day life of teachers and students and informs my ideas for the future.

Trying something new in your classroom is intimidating! Sometimes, it helps to plan with another person to talk it through and think of all of the angles. I really enjoy planning with teachers and seeing the ways they are thoughtfully encouraging their students to grow.

In the same way, there are times when it just helps to have another adult in the classroom! I love the days when I am co-teaching, whether that looks like switching off in whole-class instruction, splitting the class up into small groups, or allowing students independent "work time" while both teachers wander and conference with groups.

Planning Meetings
Aside from lesson planning, sometimes there are other planning meetings that need to occur. Meeting with technology committees/teams, working on both the logistics of the tools and the vision of instruction in the building, and/or planning with administrators are all part of my job in schools.

Professional Development
Over the course of the year, I have been a part of many staff meetings where I have either facilitated or been an observer in different types of professional development. Because I am not actually working with the kids most days, the most "bang for our buck" comes when teachers feel more comfortable and confident with technology and instructional practices!

Parent Meetings
As technology takes over our world, parents are interested in finding out both how this impacts the school and how it can impact their parenting. There is definitely an element of community outreach at the school level that is present in my job.

Informal Conversations
This is one of my favorite things to do in schools, yet it can't be measured. Often, you can get a good feel for the culture of a building just by being there. I love chatting with teachers in the copy room, saying hi to kids in the lunchroom, or seeing how the day is going in the office. Many times, this will lead to questions or requests that I can help with - those things that are not burning enough to actually call IT, but that could really help make others' lives better! I'm not talking about fixing broken technology (my department deals more with instruction than hardware), but things like, "Is there any way to do THIS?" or, "I was trying to figure out how to do THAT..."

Fellow coaches/TOSAs/district leaders...what do YOU do in schools?

Teachers...what do you WISH we would do in schools?

I'm always looking for new ideas to collaborate - feel free to chime in below!

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