Contributed by Patrick Hausammann
The other day I was doing something I often do as part of my role as a technology coach. I couldn’t be happier that this thing is part of my everyday. What was it? Present at a team meeting to further their professional development. Yes, you read correctly, I enjoy going to meetings (at least most of them!).
An elementary team leader contacted me to meet with the team on a few different technology topics. I was excited by the invitation and the chance to work with the team on not just one technology but a few different ones. As it would turn out, the technologies were the smallest part of this meeting for me.
We started looking at the grade book and finalizing the setup for each of the members of the team so that all was well for the upcoming school year. This included setting up category weighting and ensuring the setup was applied to each quarter throughout the school year. Part of the way through the setup one of the teachers stopped and stared at my partially closed Chromebook. She said, “How are you doing this without even looking?” I laughed and said something like, “Oh, I’ve done this so many times its just up there… oh, and it doesn’t hurt that I can see the screen next to me.” We all laughed and kept working along finishing the grade book review and jumping into other technologies including Flipgrid and Google Forms.
At the conclusion of the meeting I heard something I often do at this time… “You’re just so great at all of these things, I’ll just never be able to get it [tech] like you do.” Each time this makes my heart sink just a little bit. I appreciate the initial compliment but my heart takes a blow when tremendous teachers discount their ability. As I later reflected I wish I would have replied with…
Everyone of us, kids included, started somewhere, sometime with everything. Years ago what I knew about Google was that it was one the main search engines that existed. That’s all. Students aren’t born knowing technology instantly (especially educational uses). Technology coaches like me don’t know everything there is to know and definitely don’t know how to use all parts of all technologies. Many times I’ve learned a technology the day before I talk about it (sometimes a few minutes before). Technology skills are not what makes me or other tech. savvy teachers successful.
The thing that makes them and myself successful with technology is not a skill or even a behavior. It is not something that you can’t pay to have upgraded or something that can be provided for you. Success with technology and many other things in life begins with one thing, a very special thing…
Belief. This can prove to be the only difference between success and failure on a given day. Belief can give you the push you need to learn something new. It can give you the push you need to teach something new. It can be the one little thing that a student needs to breakthrough a tough concept. Belief is something that can impact nearly everything else. It can be belief that what you’re doing does or will make a difference, that you are capable of accomplishing something, and that all students’ ability to learn among other things.
We must remind all members of our learning communities both in person and virtually of the following.
I believe in each one of you. I believe enough that if you ever have an off day, I’ll be happy to remind you any time of the great things you do and the amazing ability you have to master new things that come your way, molding them into what’s best for your students. Let your passion and trust infuse your students with your belief in them. Let their belief in you bolster you in times of doubt. Trust in them to be the teacher once in a while as they trust in you each and every day. The power of belief cannot be overstated. Just as technology isn’t the lone savior without great pedagogy, belief will not yield success by itself, but there is no doubt it must be part of the foundation of greatness.
About the Author
Patrick Hausammann is a perpetual optimist and believer in the power of a #growthmindset to #failforward en route to creativity and innovation. He is a co-founder of #EdcampNSV and is also a G Suite for Education Certified Innovator, Trainer, Educator Levels I & II, and Administrator.
Patrick is originally from Pennsylvania where he earned both his undergrad (Social Studies 7-12) and his master’s degree (Instructional Technology Specialist K-12). He currently works as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) with Clarke County Public Schools in his 7th year (8th overall).
He has first-hand experience with instructional technology for professional development, co-teaching, and student instruction. Some samples of his work can be viewed at www.phausedu.com and he can be followed @PHausTech on Twitter.
Patrick will be presenting the following FETC sessions: