Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"So...What is it you do?"

"Way to go!  That's Awesome"
"Oh, I'm so happy for you, it's a perfect job for you, You'll be great!"
And then inevitably...
"Oh,,,what is it you do?"

If I've heard it once, I've heard it so many times...a question that I actually began to ponder myself. 
What is it I am supposed to do?!

As an Academic Integration Coach, I see my new role as one that wears many hats.  In no particular order, I see myself as a troubleshooter, conduit, purveyor of knowledge, hand holder and innovator.  I wonder what those hats would actually look like?

The troubleshooter is one that comes with the territory.  For example, with the new printing set-up in the district, many teachers have questions about the selection of a printer, where did they print to, how to set default, etc...  Whether it's a printer, hard drive, software issue, or anywhere in between, I do see part of my task as a person who is able to interact with the staff in a positive answer, and help them with whatever issue they might have, whether it's my job or not.  Team players see the big picture and Coach Yetter is ready to lend a hand,

Conduit.  No, I do not have electricity running through my veins, but I do see myself as one who can direct the great positive energy of ideas from one spot to another.  Too many times, people want to re-invent the wheel.  Let your local AIC share with you many of the exceptional ideas and activities that other fabulous teachers have accomplished around the district.  Granted, the share sites are intended to do that, but the personal touch of one of the AIC's may help to make that'sharing' a bit more productive.

With what, as I sometimes see, little knowledge that I do have in the tech world, there are a few things that I feel comfortable sharing with others and actually enjoy doing.  Teaching a flex class to other teachers on a new and easily integrated tech activity seems to be the perfect description for my job.  We have started a weekly 'Tech Tip Of The Week' to help purvey a liitle bit of knowledge to the world.  The first issue was extremely well received and we look forward to disseminating more knowledge as we go.

One of the reasons that I enjoyed teaching sixth grade so much and not one of the primary grades was that I felt that many of the kids didn't really need to have their hand held...they were big boys and girls. My mantra was 'Figure It Out For Yourself'  My son actually has it as his favorite quote on his Facebook Profile.  I wanted kids to learn that if they just took the time to stop and think what they were trying to accomplish, they could do so much more for themselves. For some strange reason, teachers are no different.  Many digital immigrants(some have not even gotten off the boat) need to have their hand held to attempt, even the what we perceive as simple,  I would like to hang up a "Figure It Out For Yourself' sign, but it's way too early in the game.  Hopefully this part of the job will begin to wane as I help others to look for ways to take more accountability in their tech use and issues.

Innovate - in·no·vate [in-uh-veyt] verb, -vat·ed, -vat·ing. verb (used without object) 1. to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.  
Actually, innovate is one of the key words in the tech department mission statement -
     "Facilitating the innovative use of technology to ensure success for all stakeholders'
So, my job is actually to help make some changes in the way teachers approach their lessons by how they can incorporate technology.  That's the part I love.  Looking at a goal/objective, the method of delivery, and finding some type of technology that would be the perfect fit, and then letting kids go to try and figure it out!That's the fun, challenge and joy of the job!

So there you have it.  What I do. To paraphrase next time someone asks, "What do you do' can I just ask them to subscribe to my blog?
I'm sure that some of these job descriptions will change as time goes by, but for now I need to sign off and look for a hat rack for my office!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Thoughts From The Rookie!

   Wow!  What a ride!  After a truly amazing summer with the trip of a lifetime (more to follow), I find my self in a career change!  The new kid on the block...Academic Integration Coach - Glenn Yetter.  Still seems surreal.  Having found out officially two weeks ago, I'm still not sure it has hit me.
   My first impression of the job is actually quite frightening...I know so little!  I am constantly amazed at the level of knowledge of the technical world by my counterpart, Scott Swindells, and boss...wait, let me think...oh yeah...Kristen Kozloski.  (sorry couldn't help myself-inside joke)  Lord knows what made me think that I actually knew enough to be able to work in an effective manner.  THERE IS SO MUCH TO KNOW!  Not asking for a pity party, but am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

   On the bright side, Scott has been awesome!  Patient, friendly, and the perfect mentor.  I do feel truly fortunate that I share an office with him and hope he knows how thankful I am for his guidance and support.  Kristen and the girls upstairs have been just as supportive.  It's so refreshing to have a boss that actually lets you be to do your job.  I kook forward to many years working in this department!  Finally a special shout out to my wife, Nicole, who has been so supportive through this transition.  Thanks Dr. Yetter!

  Now there is work to be done.  I kind of jumped in the first few days and threw out some ideas on helping those new the SMARTBoard.  Poor folks.  They get this amazing piece of equipment and no idea on how to use it!  This, I might say, could be my saving grace and an asset to the team  That I still have a classroom teachers perspective on how things work and the time and effort that implementing new techy ideas takes.  This, my followers, is something that I hope that I never lose sight of in the months and years to follow.  It is with this perspective that I will use to drive my efforts in helping teachers connect, educate, evaluate and prepare their students for the future.

  This is a huge task, one that I do not take lightly, but I look forward to the challenges ahead.  Each day the light shines brighter and I feel more comfortable in my role.  Things happen for a reason and I know that this is where I should be.
  Thanks for reading the rambling thoughts of the rookie.