Four Tips to Get Teachers on Board with Tech


Hey Coach,

I am a technology coach and have just started working with a group of awesome educators; however, they are hesitant to use technology and are a little skeptical about working with a coach. What’s the best way to support these teachers?

Sincerely,
Curious Coach


Dear Curious Coach,

First of all, know that this is a common stage of the coaching cycle and that their resistance is not about you. Most coaches can relate to teachers feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of teaching. Also, the many tasks teachers must complete every day often leaves them feeling void of the capacity to learn a new technology. But there is hope! Here are four easy ways to engage with your teachers, build trust, and encourage buy-in.

1. Meet teachers where they are.
Tips & Tricks for the Tech Coach
This concept may seem pretty obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. Take time to get to know teachers so you can understand how they run their classroom and how they are currently using technology. As Jim Knight describes with his Partnership Approach to coaching, establishing a relationship with teachers is the essential foundation of our work as coaches. It's great to chat with the teachers in the morning before students arrive or briefly at the end of the day to check in. Ask teachers questions to find out what is going well and how you can better support their classroom culture. Simply visit your teachers’ classrooms, see what they are already doing, and find ways to build on their technology use from there!

2. Develop lessons teachers can use immediately.
We all know teachers are incredibly busy. Often, teachers simply don’t have the time to revamp a lesson they already have materials for in order to incorporate new technology. That’s where you can step in. Create a lesson that integrates technology and addresses the content that teachers are covering now. If possible, take it one step further and model or co-teach in the classroom to demonstrate technology best practices. You may be thinking that this enables teachers’ reluctance to learn new technology tools, or that it is counterproductive because teachers aren’t learning how to use the tool themselves. In actuality, this gives teachers an authentic opportunity to see firsthand how powerful and enriching technology is, making them more interested in using it for the next lesson or unit. This opens the door for you to gradually release responsibility to the teacher for integrating technology as his or her knowledge and comfort increases.

3. Make yourself seen.
Pop into classes and see what is going on, even if there is no technology being used. Just check in on the students and the teachers. Always be willing to lend a hand! This establishes you as someone who teachers can trust. Also, let the teacher know that you thought of him/her when you learned about a new tool. Ask the teacher to schedule a time for you to come back and demonstrate the tool when the students aren’t there (and don’t leave until you get a mutually convenient time on both of your calendars).

4. Be a Positive Source.
Teachers know that providing positive feedback and encouraging comments can motivate students and build trust. It can be exhausting to be the one always giving out praise while rarely receiving it in return! Leave encouraging notes for teachers in their mailboxes or on their desks. Find ways to celebrate the greatness you see - recognize them in newsletters, websites, emails, or during staff meetings. Use our Notes from the Coach template to leave the teacher a quick message about something great you notice in the classroom. This helps build your relationship with the teacher. Celebrating each teacher’s small steps toward meaningful technology integration will make a massive difference in the long run. Teachers love recognition! Whether it is in sports or education, a coach must build up their team and be their loudest cheerleaders.

Best wishes,
Coach

Contributing Coach Kristen Klinger

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