I had an interesting conversation with a teacher who doesn’t really use technology in their classroom this afternoon. In the short time I have been in my school, I have come to respect this person’s teaching ability and their opinions on teaching, I believe that this person is an excellent to outstanding teacher and a leader in our building. However, this person does not use technology in the classroom very much beyond word processing and powerpoint.
When we were talking, I discussed and championed the idea of embedding technology into the curriculum to help prepare our students for their future. This person, simply said that they agreed 100% with what I was saying. The also stated that this person just doesn’t have the time with all of the other work they have, the amount of changes that are in the proposal stage to the curriculum and the level of need (the disparity between the high and lower level kids in the same classroom) that our regular education students are showing in the classroom to learn the technology enough to be comfortable to teach with it. There it is again lack of time and comfort level to use in teaching situations.
We discussed that the computer teacher had been for a while been having voluntary after school trainings on the MLTI program software for teachers, which had helped her some, but that this had been discontinued due to time issues and the number of after school meetings that teachers have to attend.
I have been listening closely to online conversations that sometimes revile teachers who don’t embrace technology as lazy, not willing to advance themselves, that they are doing a dis-service to their students or a multitude of other less than endearing comments regarding these teachers. I have to admit that I sort of jumped up on that bandwagon.
After my conversation this afternoon, I know that this teacher is not lazy and that they work their butt off to do as much as they can for their students. This person is trying to get comfortable enough to use technology in the classroom and wants to see technology in the classroom. However, for this person there simply is just not enough time in their day to get everything done and unfortunately, technology just has not gotten high enough to the top of the priority list to get into that classroom.
I know that many out there will say well then this teacher should just make time. That is not reality we all have just 24 hours in the day and we all have to prioritize our interests, work and personal lives. Something has to give. In some cases it is teachers and how they use or don’t use technology.
This conversation made me re-think some of my previous thoughts about non-tech teachers in the echo chamber that we sometimes have in the EdTech community. Not all of those teachers we malign are bad teachers, some or even many of them care deeply about our students and the progress of technology in the classroom. However, simply due to the many committees, leadership positions, classroom sizes, test prep and other duties (including having a bit of a personal life) they do not have the time to actually become technically savvy enough to use tech in the classroom.
Maybe we need to look at individual situations, instead of stereotyping all teachers that don’t use EdTech as bad teachers. Sometimes we know it is attitude or the other negative stuff we talk about in the EdTech world, but before we vilify all non-tech teachers, we need to ensure that this is what is really happening.
I plan to make it my mission to help this person with tech in the classroom as much as I can, if they will help me to be a better teacher which I do think they can. I think that this will be a fair trade 🙂

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.