Wow, what a ride. These past few weeks have stretched my thinking, challenged my preconceptions, and forced reflection. I’ve said before reflection is a struggle for me. I’m the type of person who honestly listens to feedback, applies that which fits and tosses the rest. In other words I move on quickly without much reflection. Which is one reason why I blog. It forces me to slow down and reflect on events. With that being said, this blog will focus on a reflection of these past few months. It’s been quite a ride.
New job- I started a new job as the Digital Coach at Samuel E. Kalama Intermediate School. Basic description is to act as a resource and help teachers leverage the use of technology in their lessons. That’s 70% of the job, the other 30% I teach a Robotics and a Technology elective.
Student teaching- During the months of September-November I completed the student teaching requirement for teaching licensure. Obviously this put strain on my ability to be an effective Digital Coach. I tried to compensate for my lack of school accessibility by showing the teacher/mentors who allowed me to student teach in their rooms, various ways I use technology in my lessons.
Full-time MEdT student. Of course as a Masters in Education candidate there are still papers to write, lessons to plan, and presentations to prepare and ultimately present. It is here that I will focus my reflection. One course I took this semester was EDCS 480. This was a technology class that I felt would compliment my new job quite well, and it did. I can not begging to say how incredible it was to be able to learn something on a Monday night in class and apply it immediately on Tuesday morning. This class spoke the same language as those whom I am accountable to as a Digital Coach. I received so many ideas and so much direction from this course that this blog could turn into a book, but alas, I will break it down to the three big takeaways that truly shifted a paradigm for me. I call it the Triangle Trifecta for Collaboration.
At its base, the triangle trifecta is all about relationships. That’s were it begins. Nothing substantial can happen until this base in in place. Rapport, trust, respect, willingness to expose weakness, being open to accept new idea and assistance. None of these things can happen without first building a relationship. Think about it this way, when you are shopping for a new tv and the salesperson asks you if you need help you probably respond, “no thanks, just looking” Why do we do this. We aren’t just looking we are trying to make a buying decission and this salesperson can help, but I don’t know them yet. A certain amount of fear is present. Fear of being pressured, ripped off, spending too much, admitting I need help, showing my lack of knowledge and many more. When the sales person can increase my desire for the product so it exceeds my fear I will make the purchase. This is no different in our quest to collaborate. When we are approached by a colleague, especially someone new to the school, who asks to collaborate we develop a certain amount of fear. This fear will persists until a realationship is built. Don’t skip this step if you want to make real change.
Once the relationship is in place we start to connect. Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, websites, teachers from other schools or just down the hall have answers to our questions and many are willing to share. Use the tools available. Get outside of your own head, room, box and connect with the world around you. What I discovered these past few months is that most teachers love to teach. Be it students in a classroom or other teachers on the web. Teachers love to share their ideas, perspectives, victories. However, many of us are a bit fearful of asking for insight. I have never struggled with this. I know how much I don’t know and am constantly wanting to learn more. Try to have this mentality, reach out, connect and ask. You will be surprised.
Once we are connected and the realationship is in place a safe environment is created. This environment is ripe for innovative thinking. For taking risks, and blazing new paths. At the University of Hawaii students in the education program are refereed to as change agents. It is expected that graduating teachers from the UH be the spark, the agent for change and that means innovation. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Here’s the amazing thing, we know what works. There are schools around the world that have figured it out. As change agents it is up to us to learn from these schools and make the appropriate changes in our own schools, with our own studetns. 21st century jobs require 21st century learning.