People sometimes tell me that they don’t know how they handled technology before I was hired. While I’m flattered that they need me, I wonder if I make them too dependent.
When I worked in business, upper management always reminded us that we should train our people to not need us. Wise words.
I believe this applies to our students as well. Teaching independence and critical thinking help others to grow and find their own voice. If we constantly spoon feed and protect them, we develop dependency and stunt their brain growth.
Coaching teachers to grasp onto a new technology is much like teaching elementary school. I’m certainly not saying that we should treat adults like children, but I AM saying that we need to break down the steps for them.
Learning a new app or tool is sometimes so stressful for an already over worked professional, that they appear to reject your teaching. In fact, they are usually just completely “info-whelmed”. The know they are intelligent. They probably have earned multiple degrees, and they think they should “get it” right away. It stops them in their tracks when it seems beyond them to understand new technology.
So, my goal is to develop more independence in those that I coach and teach.
While I’m not indispensable, I am grateful for being needed and wanted at a job I love.
2 thoughts on “Are You Indispensable?”
This is so true. My goal as an ITF is to create an environment where, eventually, they don’t need me anymore. As some of my staff begin to “cut the apron strings” it is bittersweet. I am happy and proud that they have become technologically independent but sad that our days of working so closely together have come to a close. A positive point is that when you have fewer teachers who need you so often , you have more time to research and introduce even more exciting digital opportunities. It is definitely an emotional roller coaster of a job!
I love this post. I think as instructional coaches we walk a fine line between building capacity and enabling.
I loved the lines you wrote: I believe this applies to our students as well. Teaching independence and critical thinking help others to grow and find their own voice. If we constantly spoon feed and protect them, we develop dependency and stunt their brain growth.
Teachers want this for their students but struggle with it for themselves. I think you hit the nail on the head – many of them are trying to implement so many initiatives that it is easier to have someone else do it or lead them.
I also think we need to look to students to guide teachers but this takes risk and willingness to release some control – we all battle with that, don’t we?
Thanks for the reflection!