I’m Sorry for My Hypocrisy

A lot is going on in my head right now. It was a busy weekend, mostly due to EdcampBham Saturday. It’s my favorite weekend, but usually my most stressful. This year due to some health issues and the craziness of this past school year I vowed to not be stressed. Luckily we had new teammates as well as the team we have had in the past that pulled off an amazing event. This year, with my vote to stay worry free, I was more “present” for the day.

For the first session my friend, Tom Murray, signed us up to do a session on professional development. He had done this session in the past so he knew where to start. If you have ever met Tom, he had a huge happy personality so it only took minutes for him to take over the session so I mostly stepped back, made a few comments and let it all soak in.  We had the group discuss what is wrong with traditional PD. We got the answers we expected: sit and get and no follow through and support afterwards. They then discussed new ideas in PD and pretended to be head of a school and made a PD plan. It was a fantastic session that wasn’t a gripefest but became an ideafest. OK so hold this thought on this session because I’m coming back to it. Promise.

image

Also this weekend, I made a video to go with an article for THE Journal I was interviewed for. If you know me, you know that I can get up on a stage of 1000s and I don’t get nervous and love it. But me and my southern accent on video is enough to make me a wreck. But the video was on a topic I thought was pretty important, so I agreed to it. The article was on using interactive white boards in BYOD classrooms. I focused mostly on ClassFlow and it’s benefits in the BYOD classroom. I answered this question “How do you manage a classroom with all those devices and the whiteboard being used all at once?” So as I’m recording my video I’m discussing teachers rolls have to change, etc (actually recording a million times), I had a sinking feeling in my gut and started thinking about that session I did at edcamp earlier that day.

I’m a hypocrite. You see I’m the “tech rep” at my school. I’m in charge of the technology PD there. We are also a BYOD district. We were not until around  November, tech reps were to inform the teachers and send home permission slips with each student. It was a hard transition in middle of the year. But I did just that. Then wondered why not many students took advantage of this and why teachers who are constantly complaining about lack of tech did not either.

Now I know why, it is all my fault. I can make excuses, I am teaching a new PBL tech course 5 times a day to 125 kids where I’m writing the curriculum as I go, I also teach one science class everyday. I also have 2 kids of my own who have a pretty active afternoon schedule. But excuses aren’t acceptable. When student learning is at stake I can’t make them. The central office never offered us (yes us because I would attend, even if I know this stuff bc I need to pass it on) training and even if they did its hard to expect teachers to drive to the district office 30 minutes away and it’s intimidating to some. I knew this and so I should have stopped up in my building. I should have found someone to cover my classes or stayed after school and net with every single teacher. At least those who were interested in using tech in their class. I know they don’t want more PD but I could’ve done something to get them there.

Few weeks ago I wondered why my district and school was not embracing BYOD like districts I read about in blogs and articles. Well it’s my fault. No one (ME, not pointing fingers here I’m taking the blame) said hey here is where to start, here is a new, free, product that can help. I never modeled for them. Seriously even if you are a techy, the idea of sending kids loose on cell phones and tablets is pretty scary. You’re entire job changes and we (I) expect teachers to jump on that. What the heck is wrong with me? 

The problem is when you are BYOD and do it correctly, it is more student centered and students actually are more engaged. We need that. We should want that. But without walking teachers through their role changes, how can we expect that. Think about how many (usually boring sit and get) PD sessions we have just for new textbook or new standards. BYOD is a new textbook, heck it almost replaces them. Why was this over looked?

So to all of my coworkers apologize. I did you wrong. I cheated your students out of learning.  To those who attended our PD session Saturday, I apologize for being a hypocrite. I just became one of those who do PD and you think “they have no clue what is like in a real classroom.” One of those in the session is a coworker of mine, I’m surprised he didn’t call me out. I’m glad now Tom was Tom and had the room’s attention so I didn’t put my foot too far in my mouth. I apologize to y’all, my readers, because y’all know how passionate I can be about PD yet I’m apparently just fooling y’all. But thank you for taking the time to read my blog and putting up with my struggles. I do have a plan for coming next year, hope I will get to put it into place. I will make the time. I have to, learning is at stake.

10 thoughts on “I’m Sorry for My Hypocrisy

  1. Hi Amanda!

    Thanks for sharing this post. You really made me think about my own practices with PD and our new BYOD program. I have a ton of respect for you for “calling yourself out” in this post and for making me reflect on what I am doing (and not doing) to help my teachers who are starting to roll out BYOD.

  2. The role of a Central Office-type (like myself) is to gauge your level of comfort/expertise with an event like moving to BYOD and provide appropriate staff development. I should know you and know what it’s going to take in your building to make successful. If they chatted with you, you said “I got it” and then nothing happen, yeah, that’s probably on you. If there only means of making it successful is asking you to drive 30 minutes, then that’s on them. Nobody is perfect at what we do. I’ve got a TON of room for improvement (would hate to peak too early!) in my job. You realize it’s not working and you’re willing to own some of it. That’s important. And not throwing others under the bus is also important. Learn from your experiences and move on. You’ve got such an awesome network of people to throw this out to and get feedback and help on. Then you can pass it forward later.

  3. Amanda,
    Incredible reflection. I’m not sure there’s a blogger on the planet willing to put it all out there as much as you are. You often post what we’re thinking, but afraid to say. I commend you for your dynamic thoughts and your courage to share them with the world.

    Listening to your inner voice and the courage to be transparent with your own learning is something I truly admire with your work. I’ve found that many times some of the best teachers are those that are the most critical of themselves; always finding ways to push themselves to be better…better for the children they serve. …you’re absolutely in that category.

    Your leadership, trials and reflections about PBL, BYOD, etc., have been eye opening for so many. Keep learning, growing, and sharing your path with us all. We’re fortunate to learn from you. Thanks for the shout and for co-facilitating at #edcampbham. Lot’s of fun. :) Your ‘do what it takes for kids’ mindset was inspiring. Keep up the awesome work.

    Tom
    @thomascmurray

  4. We can only do so much. Thank you for your honesty, but you are probably being too hard on yourself. Every year I have a running list called: “next year I’ll do it better by….” Don’t think of it as hypocrisy, think of it as a learning opportunity .

  5. Amanda,

    After reading this open and honest reflection…you got me reflecting. The part that made me stop and think was: “Few weeks ago I wondered why my district and school was not embracing BYOD like districts I read about in blogs and articles. Well it’s my fault. No one (ME, not pointing fingers here I’m taking the blame) said hey here is where to start, here is a new, free, product that can help. I never modeled for them.”

    I view myself as a connected educator, but sometimes in my own district I fear being “that guy”. This sometimes prompts me to listen and follow…rather than listen and lead.

    What you described in this post is probably much more common than you think. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to reflect. It speaks volumes about your character. Thanks for getting me thinking and reflecting.

    -Ben

  6. A few points I’d like to make about this post.
    1) After reading it, you are incredible. Yes, you put yourself out there and are better for it.
    2) Is it possible that you don’t so much pressure on the rest of us who have similar positions? If our clients read your posts, they would begin to think we are really slacking in our work.
    3) Could you do a running commentary of your day? I’m sure you could do that because with thoughts like these, all of us could reflect on ourselves and actually take the steps to make changes.
    Thank you.

  7. Amanda, Hats off to you for reflecting like this and putting it out there for the rest of us to learn from. I think that that is amazing for no other reason. I understand and can relate to not realizing your own expectations. Great teachers learn from their mistakes. Great teachers want the best for their students. Great teachers reflect, adjust, and get better. Amanda, you are a great teacher. I’m glad you’re in my circle. You didn’t rob anyone of anything. You gave your best, but realize you can do better. There is no shame in that.

  8. Amanda, I admire you for doing, reflecting, realizing, and then making a plan to start the doing part of the circle again! I think too many times, people (me included) get so hung up in the realizing part that we don’t move forward with an action plan!

    Thanks for pushing all us to complete that whole circle too!

  9. What you have modeled for us is the awareness which precedes change. No awareness, no change.
    Thanks for illustrating the baby steps we all must take to get to the big stuff!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>