The Reality of the Matter #edchat

I'm so grateful for Steve Dembo's post entitled The majority is in the minority. In it, he describes his experiences and understanding of today's population of teachers - and how the majority of educators that participate in the blogosphere today are still very much in the minority of educators who even realize that such opportunities exist.

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day who was lamenting the fact that so many teachers are so far behind (aka ignorant). That they aren’t aware of PLN’s, have never participated in a global project, or make use of wiki‘s and sites like Edmodo. S/he seemed almost pissed off that so many educators don’t make the extra effort to learn all the tools they need to make sure students can be set up to succeed in today’s world.

I beg to differ. I don’t see it as teachers spurning technology, or choosing not to take advantage of those new ideas and tools. I think most teachers don’t even realize that there’s a decision to be made. It’s not a matter of choosing the red pill or the blue pill… if you don’t know that there are even two pills available as options.
It's been my experience that Steve's description is spot-on correct. Most teachers don't know what they're missing and they'd often rather not know because they already feel piled upon, used, under-appreciated, under-paid, and frazzled. For that matter, few public school teachers have adequate time to prepare for the curriculum they're asked to address - and most teachers view professional development that isn't job-embedded as additional, unwanted weight to their already busy lives. Testing, testing, testing (including common formative and standardized summative assessments) have become a mandated priority for most in our schools and last year's worksheet is so much easier to distribute than the time consuming efforts it will take to transform pedagogy.

Honestly, nevertheless, the large majority of teachers that I know are very caring individuals that believe firmly in life-long learning. Most love teaching because making a difference in the lives of our youth can be the most rewarding profession on the planet. Most love kids, love community, and want to share. It's not that they don't want to try new things, it's not that they're lazy, and it's not that they're incapable. Rather, it's that their priorities don't always line up with those of other progressive educators in and out of the blogosphere. I'm not saying it's right, but I am trying to describe the reality that so many in the blogosphere seem to misunderstand.

As a result, I've taken it upon myself and my team to help teachers in our District overcome the hurdles that might impede them from progressing in their use of technology to teach and to learn. We understand the needs teachers and administrators have (or are trying to understand) and have constructed a support model that allows for ed-tech professional development that is continual, job-embedded, and community-driven. We're constantly learning, teaching our teachers about both blue and red pills, and even passing them out in faculty meetings. Nonetheless, this whole business is extremely complex, significant change comes slowly, and patience is required as we steadfastly trudge forward together.

Forward. Together. One pill at a time.


Image source: Flickr user RaGardner4.

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