Have you had one of those moments when something simple happens and it hits you hard? It reminds you of what your purpose is? It changes the way you think about everything you do from them on? I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.
I was at a high school in the library, I had just finished working with some teachers, it was one of those PD moments when the tech was so disagreeable it took away from the PD and I was so frustrated that my morning was a total fall. I was helping the librarian with something and noticed a kid that was stressing over something. When I asked if he needed help he told me that he had downloaded the Word app on his phone and was trying to email the doc to his yahoo account so he could open it and print before it was due the next period. I asked him why couldn’t he just put it in his Google drive and print it from there. He looked at me and asked what a Google drive was. I just told him to have a seat and helped him with the GDrive phone app, gave him his account and password, how he can edit/share documents by having it up on 2 computers, and showed him how to upload the Word document to the drive. It probably took 5 minutes max. When done he looked at me and said, “thanks so much, you have changed my life! Can you come back and teach my teachers this?”
I spent 5 minutes with the kid and he says I changed his life. Because of something his teachers should’ve already taught him. I hated having to look him in the eye and admit to him that his teachers knew about Google Drive because I spent a day there walking each teacher through it. You see this kid told me he didn’t have a computer at home, he had to do all his work on his phone, he didn’t mind but it was hard. With docs we discussed how he could start on the computer at school and finish it on phone later then print at school or I showed him how to share with teacher and go paperless.
At least 3 days a week I do PD with teachers about using some type of tech to increase student learning. There is a reason behind this, these tools are what the kids need to use while learning the curriculum. But every single day I have at least one teacher push back. Every single time I have one teacher tell me they are not going to use a certain tech because they aren’t comfortable or they aren’t techy or they are doing fine doing what they’ve done in the past. Or my favorite “my kids are too young for this.” I used to just blow it off. Ignore it so I won’t take it personally.
No more. Now when I hear this I think of the kid who decided his life was changed for the better because he learned how to log into his Google account. You see, we have a job as educators to help our students. No one becomes a teacher to teach curriculum or prepare kids for tests, I hope. No we go into education to change lives. But as time goes on we become comfortable. And becoming comfortable is pure selfishness. When we decide we don’t want to change. When we blow off technology we are told to use because it makes us uncomfortable, we are cheating every student sitting in our class. This just doesn’t go for technology. When supervisors or coaches spend days teaching you lessons or pedagogy that they have researched and know work, why on earth do you ignore it and go back to the classroom the next day and teach the exact same lessons from last ten years? Because it’s easy? Well I’m glad it’s easy, but who are you working for? Yourself? Or your students?
We are a service industry. Like it or not. Our job is to serve the kids that walk in and out of our schools everyday. Just imagine if you did something every day that helps at least one child’s life become a little easier or gives them a chance for an “ah-ha” moment or just helps their self esteem. Just imagine how that group of students’ lives can change for the better.
Isn’t that why we became teachers? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t so we could resist change and cheat our students out of amazing experiences. No it’s to change lives. It’s to prepare kids for their future, for the world they will live in. So next time you start to think, “I don’t have time for that.” or “I don’t want to take the time to learn __.” remember that it’s not about you. It’s about your students.