A little over a month ago, I had the pleasure to speak to the Southwest Technology Integration Leaders of Ohio group about the importance to build relationships as an edtech coach to help take technology integration deeper. I truly believe that technology coaches cannot start to do their job effectively until they have learned to build positive relationships.
You can watch the whole talk if you’re interested (bottom of the post), but I wanted to highlight a couple of points.
First, education is not only what we do, but it’s who we are. When you’re working with teachers to tell them to change part of their practice, often what they hear is that you are telling them to change. Remember how deeply educators identify with their profession when you are talking with them and encouraging them to change. Shoutout to Chris Lehmann, Jennie Mageira and countless other educators who have helped bring this concept home for me in their presentations, keynotes and daily conversations.
Secondly, Maya Angelou had it right when she said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Always remember this when you’re working with teachers. It doesn’t matter if you’re the smartest person to walk into that school building on a given day. In fact, it doesn’t really matter if you’re the smartest person on the planet if you make them feel like crap about themselves. Never get frustrated in front of a teacher. Never snap. Take a deep breath, remove yourself if you need to, and come back later with a cooler head.
Tips to Build Relationships
- Stop in their rooms just to say “hi!”
- Remember conversations
- Reference previous conversations
- Find THEIR classroom pain points
- Keep a log of conversations, teaching styles, pain points… (bonus tip: create a short Google Form and save it as a shortcut on your phone!)
- We all have our strengths ?
- Send them emails or notes when you see something you think they’d like
- NEVER get frustrated in front of them
- You catch more flies with honey than vinegar
- NEVER waste their time
But what about those times when you’re doing everything you can to build those relationships? You’ve still got to push into those classrooms to make an impact as an edtech coach.
In the beautiful words of Jaime Casap, “People aren’t afraid of change, they’re afraid of pain.” SO True. You’ve got to figure out what that teacher’s pain points are and start by easing those pain points. Make the change exciting and manageable. Not too big and scary to achieve.
And lastly, bring the spirit of Steve Jobs and Apple to your role as an edtech coach. Figure out what your customers (teachers) need before they even know they want it. Then give it to them!
Tips to Push Into Reluctant Teacher Classrooms
- Go with an end goal in mind
- Be excited about it
- Send emails to departments/ individuals with new tools and ideas
- Tell them where you heard the idea… “during a Twitter chat, I saw…”
- Email Tweets that are relevant
- Follow up on conversations with an email summary and include resources
- Go with an example in hand
- Find your go to teachers, have them try it, and spread the word about “Sally Sue down the hall did this and loved it!”
- Share your own experiences, starting with the problem of practice you were trying to solve
Focus on your Big Rocks!
In my next post, I will share the Integration Stations activity I did with the coaches and tech directors after my talk. The full talk is below.
So what are your tips to build relationships and push into reluctant teacher classrooms? Comment on the blog to let me know!
Tech To You Later!