Friday, March 4, 2016

Tyranny of the Urgent vs. Importance of the Expected

But what if it did? What if as a technology coordinator I put more value on putting my things on hold when the teachers, administrators, and students I support needed me most? What if my job was reactionary? What if I put out fires first and worked on the expected as I could?

Everybody loves a hero and at some time or another we have all needed one. We have been in a situation where no matter how hard we try, we just can't figure out what to do. We are stuck. You are probably thinking of a moment in your life right now that looked like that. How did you get out of the situation? Chances are someone with a skill set, tools, or time you didn't have swooped in and saved the day for you. Someone that realized the urgency of your situation and helped. 

As support staff to an entire school I sometimes struggle with the feeling of lack of accomplishment. I have this list of things to get done but a smart board isn't recognizing a computer, an iPad is giving a popup message, or speakers aren't working. While this is just a small portion of what I am here for, solving these issues gives me "tech coach credibility." If I will help in the small stuff with a smile on my face, teachers are much more likely to feel comfortable with me helping them in big stuff. They are much more likely to hear me out. 

But it's my job to find the balance. If all I do is put out fires and save people from their procrastination of not trying things first over and over again, I am enabling them as someone that always needs to be supported. On the other hand, the unexpected happens. It is in this unexpected moment that the rubber meets the road and I am seen as a resource and remembered for future ideas.

The hardest part for me is being everything I am called to be AND staying relevant and forward thinking. I believe a good instructional technologist has to always be aware of what the next thing might be to make a big difference in their school. For me right now that means spending time looking at open educational resources and finding the time to do it. I believe professional development and research opportunities are vital to me being the best instructional technologist I can be. I also know all the knowledge in the world will not be useful to any organization unless I am meeting with teachers, assessing situations, creating opportunities for student growth, and keeping a finger on the pulse of the curriculum direction of my school.