As an Educational Technology Support Teacher, I wanted to know: What do people want from a technology mentor or coach? Catholic Ed Chat provided me with the perfect platform to get the answers to my questions.
The chat exceeded my expectations. I now have more material than I dreamed and I was so pleased and surprised with many of the answers to my questions. With so many schools going 1:1 it seems odd that more schools are not adding this position to their staff. And if they are not adding it to their staff, why haven’t they established a mentoring program or a plan for training teachers on technology? There is a real fear among teachers about technology and change, and this is needed as we move forward with 1:1 programs in our schools.
It seems that the first task of the technology mentor or coach is to establish trust and relationships with the teachers and students. This requires patience something I am the first to admit I struggle with daily. Not necessarily with the teachers with whom I have to explain things several times, more with the ones who don’t listen and claim to be too busy. The ones who show up late for trainings and are texting and talking during your training sessions--you know the ones. Two months later they call you to retrain them on the same topic swearing they don’t remember you training them.
The other interesting comments came over whether or not the technology mentor or coach should have IT experience. Overall I think the consensus was that this is helpful. Teachers need someone who can help them to troubleshoot and the IT person, if available, is not always the best one to do this. Plus, the IT person probably doesn’t understand the needs of the classroom. This is where I think the technology coach becomes critical. He or she must understand what goes on in the classroom be able to guide the teachers on how to best use technology in the classroom. Technology can be frustrating when it is not working correctly. So IT experience and pedagogy come together in this position. The technology coach must inspire, guide, and encourage. He or she must bring new ideas to the table and work side by side with the teachers and students to make them happen. As schools move toward 1:1, it is necessary for administrators to recognize the need for technology mentoring and coaching programs for their teachers to be successful.