You can’t be an expert in everything, and you don’t have to be

I recently spoke to a teacher who told me that I’d been available in her school several times but she never took time to connect with me because she wasn’t sure what to ask me. She knew there were ways that she could be integrating technology into her teaching and learning, but with all the other things she was doing in her classroom for her students, she hadn’t yet had the time to explore ideas. On my recent visit to the school, she admitted to finally making a commitment to take 30 minutes to meet with me and she started our conversation with, “I know you can help me, I just don’t know what to ask.”

There’s a lot we can learn from each other. You can probably think of things that you’re really good at, and things where you just wish you knew more. I can relate.

As an elementary technology coach, there’s a lot that I need to be an expert at in order to effectively support the teachers that I work with. Being knowledgeable enough to find curriculum connections and effective technology integration strategies for all grades from kindergarten to grade 8 and all subjects isn’t easy. There are times where I need to be honest and say, “Let me think about that,” or “Let me ask around. I’ll get back to you.”

I’m more successful in my role supporting others when I acknowledge that I don’t know it all and there are educators I can connect with to help me. You can do the same.

I’m not in expert in all areas of the curriculum in all grades. In recognizing that, I know that there are people that support teaching and learning in our Board that are experts in specific subjects and how to teach it. Connecting with and sharing ideas with those people makes me better prepared to support people in subject areas where I’m not an expert.

We’re only a few months into the school year, and already the team of elementary technology coaches has called on the experts in a variety of subject areas to help us grow in our knowledge of a variety of subjects areas.

In October, we met with Nick McNairn to explore digital math tools for intermediate math teachers and how to digitize the math classroom. Nick is the Student Success 7-12 numeracy coach and shared how tools like Knowledgehook, Desmos and GeoGebra support numeracy instruction. With Chromebooks in the hands of all intermediate students, and math instruction being a somewhat more difficult subject to integrate technology into, Nick and his Facilitator partner Alfonso Garcia have been busy sharing technology integration ideas with math teachers across the Board.

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Technology Coaches exploring STEM with STEM & Science Facilitator Jane Kennedy

In November, the secondary technology coaches joined us for a morning with Jane Kennedy to explore ideas for integrating STEM in a variety of ways across both the elementary and secondary panel. Jane is the STEM & Science Facilitator and supports all grades from K-12. There’s a lot of interest in STEM and those questions often come our way because there’s a lot of ways that technology links to STEM. Jane is great at sharing ideas for integrating STEM into classrooms in a meaningful and purposeful way.

In December, we’ll meet with Literacy and Numeracy Facilitator Cheryl Keen as well as Early Childhood Education Facilitators Karen Monaghan and Diane Hollywood to explore commonly asked questions, effective instructional strategies and Board initiatives so that we can work on technology integration ideas in each of those areas too.

As a technology coach, I’m more successful supporting others when I acknowledge that I don’t know it all and there are educators I can connect with to help me. You can do the same.

If you’re looking for ideas for your next steps in leveraging digital, connect with an Educational Technology Coach or the Innovative Education Facilitator team.

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