Friday, March 15, 2013

Why Should I? Part III

This is the third in a series of posts titled "Why Should I?".  Each post will look at one reason why it is worth the time and effort to improve your 21st Century teaching skills.  

Practicing What You Preach

What do we want for our students?  

Most of us can easily rattle off no less than ten answers to that question in just a few seconds.  Somewhere in your top ten, I would be willing to bet you would say something along the lines of "learning how to learn" or "being a life long learner", right?  

Well, then, we should put up or shut up.  

In the following paragraphs, I'm going to copy (with permission) Tim Holt's recent blog titled, I don't do technology in its entirety.  

” I don’t do technology.”
I cannot even begin to count of the number of times I have heard that phrase uttered by teachers and administrators.
“I don’t do technology.”
There are variations of the phrase as well, such as “I can’t figure this out, so I need someone to do it for me,” “It’s too complicated for me” and the most famous of all “I’m not a techie.”
All of these are used, in one form or another to avoid using technology in the classroom with students and to wash themselves of any technology-related instructional responsibility. 
It amazes me that in a profession that is all about learning, there are a vast number of people that cannot learn. They cannot practice what they preach.
“Hey kid, learn this stuff so I don’t have to.” 
Is ther any other profession that acts like that? Are there doctors that say “That is too techie for me, so I cannot learn that new surgical method?” Are there airline pilots that refuse to fly a plane if it has too many computerized instruments?
I was thinking about technophobic teachers the other day (or “Refuseniks” as I like to call them ) and I began to wonder what would a teacher do if a student used those exact same words in them, but with whatever they were teaching as the phrase? Would they put up with that? Or would they call the students insolent and then call their parents? 
“Sorry Mrs. Smith, you know, I simply am not a “mathie.”
Gee Mr. Lopez, I would love to do your science assignment, but I am just not good at science. I need someone to do it for me, if that’s okay.
I don’t do social studies. Sorry. I am just not social study-ee enough. Maybe when I find the time.
I am not a PE -ie.
I am not an Artie.
I am not a techie.
What that really means is “I am not a learner in a profession that is all about learning.”

I would like to thank Tim for allowing me to cross post his work here.  As always, I welcome discussion.  You do not have to use your name.  


  1. Tim's blog entry reminds me of human comfort zones. Obviously, teachers, students, other professionals have a particular comfort zone with certain areas of interest and expertise. As research supports, comfort zones are difficult to step out of and thus that could explain the excuses, hesitations, avoidances that are displayed with technology. Having a reliable "techie" like yourself (Andy) to lead and assist on the way has made a huge difference. It is like the Chinese Proverb: I do, We do, You do..... I would encourage our district's educators to allow our "techie" to help slip out of their technology comfort zone! Don't forget we want LIFE LONG learners from everyone!

    1. That is an excellent point, JoRae. Change isn't easy. It isn't comfortable. I still go back to modeling, though-practicing what we preach. We expect our students to step outside their comfort zones on a daily basis. How can educators be so hesitant to do it themselves?

      Then again, as a staff developer, I regularly see the exact same behavior from teachers that they would NEVER allow their own classrooms, and would quite easily land their students in the office.