In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” we take a look at the relationships you will be building with the teachers that you will be working with each day. No matter if you are a teacher who gets elevated to a full-time Tech Coach, a teacher who now has coaching responsibilities, or a Tech Coch brand new to the district, the relationships, conversations, reputation, and trust that you build with your teachers will go a long way to creating a successful year for you and ultimately the digital growth of your students.
Today we are going to take a look at several things that a Tech Coach can do to make sure they are helping their fellow teachers see their vision of what digital learning could look like in their classrooms.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Reflections from Last Week
- Tech Coach Mastermind
- Do You Have a Question For Us?
- Building Long Lasting Professional and Personal Relationships With Teachers
- Difficulties in Building Relationships
- You are always in the middle between the teacher and the administration world
- You are usually either trying to build personal relationships or attempting to come up with a way to entice teachers to try new things that they may or may not be interested in going.
- Positives in Building Relationships
- You are NOT an administrator so you have an opportunity to get to know your teachers on a much deeper level
- Teachers are more trusting of you which makes it easier for them to come to you for help and support.
- Advice From Other Tech Coaches
- Amy Storer: (@techamysc ) Bring them to the table. Make them a part of the conversation. So much of what we advocate for our students apply to our teachers too!
- Tina Mottl: Be approachable, available, and friendly. It will be easy for teachers not to feel pressured to learn new things.
- Dan Kreiness: (@dkreiness) LISTEN! Do so by asking more and talking less. Letting teachers drive coaching cycles rather than coaches always bringing their own thoughts and ideas. For the coaches: Don’t do too much for teachers – they must be able to do things for themselves
- Avra Rachel: (@AvraRachel) I guess the way I look at it is this…just as we expect our teachers to differentiate their teaching strategies to meet the needs of the immense learner variability we see in classrooms, we, as coaches, need to do the same for them. We should remember that teachers are people first…and when we are asking them to learn new tools or strategies, they become learners – just like the students in our classrooms. And just because they have a teaching degree and years of experience…just because they are “grown-ups”… doesn't mean that they don't still have fears, learning disabilities perhaps, insecurities, etc. I just think it's so important to remember that there's no one right way to do things…and I think it's vital to try to personalize our approach to meet each teacher's unique personality and teaching style whenever possible. I think that establishing trust and a sense of comfort is paramount to building relationships and meeting each teacher wherever he/she is.
- Advice from a first-year Tech Coach
- Be friendly … open up … let them into your world. Teachers just want to get to know you so they can trust you.
- Crawl first … never run. If they ask you a Tech question … answer it … don’t give them a long-winded answer that might scare them off.
- Remember that they might not be digital natives and it might take them a little bit longer to understand what you are talking about
- Don’t try to show off what you know.
- Always end your conversations positive and remind them that you are there to help them whenever they are stuck.
- Once you gain their trust and friendship
- THEN ask them about what they would like to do in their classrooms (just like you did with your principal.
- Speak from experience … not from Data (different than with your principal)
- Share with them what you have or would do in your own classrooms. It’s important to relate Tech to the things they are interested in doing with their students in their classrooms.
- Listen, Listen, Listen
- DON’T Take notes during the conversations … write things down once you are out of sight so it looks natural.
- Think before responding
- Let your teachers have the first word and the last word in every conversation. Allow them the time to process everything they are learning.
- Understand when it's time to lead and when it’s time to react
- Sometimes it’s important to push your agenda and sometimes it’s important to know when to follow the lead of the principal.
- Know when to hold em and know when to fold em
- Difficulties in Building Relationships
- On the Next Episode
- Forming a Great Relationship With Your Student Population as a Tech Coach
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Tech Tip of the Week
- Last week we discussed the importance of creating a professional relationship with your building administrator. This week, we will be taking a look at the relationships that you have with your staff members. These are the people that you work with every day in and out of the classrooms. They are dedicated, passionate, and often members of YOUR professional association. It’s important to form long-lasting relationships with your teachers as early as possible not as the tech coach, but as colleagues. Trust goes a long way in creating a long-lasting and successful Tech Coaching program.
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