Saturday, November 12, 2011

A New Approach

I have been thinking a lot about my work with teachers these days. Some days feeling really great about what I do... and others are a bit more challenging. Yesterday was a perfect example of feeling great about what I do...I had about 10-12 teachers attend my weekly "Appy Hour." Teachers come to collaborate and share how they have been using their iPads in the classroom. They share new Apps, projects they may be doing with their students, and tips/tricks they have discovered. I LOVE this time. Teachers come because they want to, not because they are forced into it for PD. I may entice them with cookies, muffins, or pumpkin roll...but for the most part I think they are there to learn and collaborate with their colleagues. I received one of the nicest compliments shortly after Appy Hour was over...
Just wanted to say THANK YOU for holding these Appy Hours… Every time I go, I walk away with new apps and new ideas from you and others who join the group… Not to mention the yummy food/ snacks you share.
This made me smile and gave me reassurance that I am doing my job. Fortunately or unfortunately I do not live in Utopia. While the majority of my days are great, there are those days/weeks that are just one challenge after another. When I have these days, I often question what I could be doing differently to support my teachers...do I offer more trainings, hold more 1:1 sessions, create training documents/resources, etc, etc...

Well, today as I was going through my Google Reader I came across Jen's blog post. She articulated everything that I have been thinking for the past couple of weeks. I love her analogy of "heading back to the shallow end of the pool." She explains that there are 4 types of teachers in education today....

a.  The ones that are comfy in the deep end of the pool.   (This is pretty much anyone within my twitter network, the people who write the blogs I follow, conference speakers, the DEN network, etc) 
b.  The ones who are comfy in the shallow end of the pool.  (This includes most (but not all) of the people who participate in my projects, many of the teachers on my campus, and a majority of people I speak with through this blog and at conferences.) 
c.  The ones who are sitting in the lounge chairs near the pool.  (This includes the lurkers we all know who are seeing what is happening in education, but are still quite comfortable where they are sitting.) 
d.  And the one’s who refuse to exist that the pool even exists.   (no more needs to be said here.) 
And I have realized, and I have decided, that I am heading back to the shallow end of the pool.   I think it is much more important for me to be in the shallow end of the pool.   I know I have stopped being effective when all I do is holler “come on out, the water is fine” when indeed what I need to do is head back to the shallow end and work with the MANY there to help them get to the deep end.
So from now on, I am going to exist more with the group #2 and #3.

When I read this post it was like an "Ah Ha" moment for me! Instead of getting down on myself, I am going to try a new approach and work with the teachers who are "sitting in the lounge chairs by the pool" and those "that are comfy in the shallow end of the pool." Hopefully, my willingness to go back to the shallow end will be more effective in getting more teachers to venture off into the deep end.

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