This month the #compelledtribe is talking about making technology integration seamless, so that it is viewed as just the way we do business, rather than "an event."
Because we are far along in our journey with technology in my district, returning teachers who know the routines of our district do, in fact, make it a pretty seamless integration. What I'd like to talk more about today is how we support our new teachers - some who come with teaching experience, others who come new to the profession.
For a new teacher, first thing is that they have to get used to the Macs if they are not familiar with using that kind of device. I remember my first year and I was not a Mac person - the way I had learn to orient myself to the operating system was so different! (I wasn't even 1:1 at the time!) Since then, I've been transformed... will never have anything again that is not a Mac, but it's important to remember we are all on different journeys with our technology!
The next suggestion I have would be that our new teachers are made aware of all the programs we use to support student learning, and in our district, there are many. (Thanks Meg for this idea!) On a district level, we do a great job behind the scenes of preparing the programs for student use. Teachers don't have to worry about importing students and their data, but teachers do have to familiarize themselves with all the applications and programs we use. There are quite a few, and that can be overwhelming when you're not used to teaching with so many options. So, a great idea would be to have some kind of document that lists all of the applications we use, and perhaps prioritizes them for the new staff. That would give them a place to go to know where to start.
And to go with that, I would want to tell new teachers, that as with anything else, it really is a journey. You can't make it seamless and perfect using every application right from the beginning. You have to start small and move forward just a little bit at a time.
If you've been in education for any length of time, you know that teaching is so complex. Of course, teachers have students to teach, and content to plan, but then you have Back to School night, interventions to give, and IEP meetings to attend. There are common planning meetings and collaborative work in developing common assessments. After school events, and sports and clubs are also part of what we do. And if you are lucky enough to work in a district that has a 21st century vision, you have a lot of technology to acquaint yourself with.
We need to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and that it takes time to get all this down. Mentors need to remind the new teachers will be much easier if they remember to take care of themselves, to give themselves a time limit on the hours they spend working, and then turn to taking care of themselves to stay balanced. It's so hard to do, especially in your first few years, but our emotional well-being is so important for all the work we do with students each day...technology speaking and otherwise.
How else can we support new teachers?
Leave a note in the comments and let's keep the conversation going!