I have been reflecting a lot lately on my role as an Instructional Technology Coach. This position in education is at the cusp of innovation and change. A wonderful place to be if you are all about “new and different” and a very uncomfortable place to be if you fear change.
My practice of reflection sometimes brings me solutions in lightening bolt fashion. I like that, it’s efficient and helps me move quickly into action. Lately, though, the reflection has been a slow cooker realization.
What was this realization? In order to gain buy in and move ALL educators I work with toward full technology integration I was going to have to do some work. Work that would seem insignificant to some, menial to others and mundane to those that like the “spice of life.” I was going to do have to be like a patient farmer… and not just any farmer, a fruit tree farmer.
It all begins by sowing the seeds.
How does that look?
1. Being a servant-leader: Often the fruits of students and teachers are rooted in the soils and seeds I have planted and nurtured.
2. Working behind the scenes: That means keeping the equipment running, watching the forecast and trouble-shooting the challenges so that when the flowers of creativity bloom for teachers and students and the fruits of excellence grow heavy on the limbs, then the harvest of learning is plentiful.
3. Rolling up the sleeves and be willing to make difficult climbs: One must be able to climb high into the tops of the trees and take risks to prune so that the next year the harvest is plentiful. Sometimes I am left alone to climb, but often with coaxing and encouragement I find brave souls that will climb and prune with me. They are ready to soar to even higher heights with even greater harvest the next year.
4. Humility and hard work is necessary and three-fourths of the process: If the preparation of the soil, the plowing of the ground, the sowing of the seed, the pruning of the limbs and the weeding is not done, then the other one-fourth… the harvest will not happen. The focus is always about the harvest (end result), not about the planting (although essential to the end result).
5. Celebrate the harvest and the one who reaps it: I am a lover of even the smallest results of the harvest. Whether it be great or small, I still celebrate and value every fruit. Whether there is plenty or it is scarce, I celebrate, because ultimately fruit was produced!
6. Be unconditional: Provide the growing crop unlimited enthusiasm, joy, grace, forgiveness, and… yes, unconditional love.
So what does this all mean? I love the quiet, behind the scenes, servant-leader; hands-on, pruning, weeding, hard-working coach I am. I am working on being a humble, bottomless resource of joy, enthusiasm, grace, forgiveness and love. Why? Because it is how I plant seeds, it is how I move my teachers and students forward. It is how many of my mentors have treated me.
I am here to win people over to best practices with the integration of technology. If that means I run an errand for a teacher to develop trust, listen to a difficult conversation to support a teacher leader when it doesn’t directly relate to integrating technology, or patiently accept a substitution activity when the possibility of a modification activity is there because that is one step closer to integration than last time for that teacher, I do it. I do it because I am planting seeds, so that someday there is a harvest. A harvest that students will benefit and feast upon. A harvest of critical thinking, problem solving, creative, future-ready students who will change the world we know today for the better.
That’s the harvest my planting will reap.
I would love to know about the seeds you are planting. Please leave your comments and thoughts.