Recently, I was having a conversation with a tech coach friend of mine from another district that made me think about my role in my school district and the work I do with teachers and students. She told me about an article she had just read that made her miss the classroom and wonder about her effectiveness in the role of tech coach. I was able to empathize with her because even though I love my job and see so much meaning in my work, there have been many times over the past five years I have thought and wondered the same thing.
When my district decided to issue students Google accounts and began deploying Chromebooks to schools, I thought about all of the amazing, engaging, products my students could create on them. When we worked to implement BYOD in secondary schools, I thought about how much easier it would be for my students to create digital products that demonstrated their understanding of a concept. I thought of these things and I missed my old life. I missed my students. I missed my classroom.
However, each time I think about the work I could do for my students with technology if I were still in the classroom, I also have to think about the work that I do for teachers so that they can effectively implement instructional technology in their classrooms. I serve 850 teachers and 11,500 students in my district. The PD I develop and deploy, whether it's during a PLC meeting or after school academy, during a breakout session on a PD day or co-teaching a class, impacts student learning. The newsletters, blogs, and tweets that I publish make their way to teachers to impact their thinking about teaching, learning, and technology integration.
Do I miss the classroom and my students? Absolutely. I think that all coaches and administrators miss the classroom and the important work of teaching kids every day. However, I know that now I am in a position to affect change on a much larger scale than I could have if I were still in the classroom. I'm able to visit classes, mentor teachers, and help administrators on a daily basis, all things I couldn’t do if I was still teaching.
What’s the point of all this? Why write an entire post (and probably dedicate a podcast to this topic in the near future) to share these thoughts?
Whether you’re a classroom teacher, principal, teacher’s assistant, instructional coach, or any other of the many roles that make our schools function, your work matters. Whether you know it or not, your work touches the lives of students and teachers Every. Single. Day. Please don’t forget that fact and be sure to make decisions that honor it.
Husband | Father | Edtech Coordinator | Google for Education Certified Trainer, February 2017 #GoogleET | METC Spotlight Educator 2017