Monthly Archives: April 2017

Oops! Living on a Lonely Island No More…

mistakes

It is week #3 of the #DCSDblogs challenge. The theme for week three is Oops! Please tell us about a mistake you made this week, how you handled it, and what happened in the end.

First off let me preface this with an apology, Oops, that this blog post was not done in a timely manner. Good thing I don’t blog for a living – my family would starve!

So, back to the topic at hand – Oops! When you are the building Teacher-Librarian you are sometimes on an island unto your own. We have amazing fellow TL’s that are only an email or phone call away, but sometimes not having immediate, or fairly immediate, access to that colleague (like most departments in a building do) can be hard. As a TL we were many, many hats. Sometimes trying to keep track of all of those various hats can become overwhelming and that is when mistakes happen.

Mistakes can be innocently made in not getting a work order put on the log in a timely fashion, or answering an email question from a colleague. It could also be being short tempered when you have 4 people needing your attention at the same exact moment. Maybe it could be that the Iowa HS & Teen Choice Award winners that are sitting on the card teasing you because you haven’t had time to get them in the system and ready for student check out. Those are innocent mistakes – we are all guilty at times of being too busy – simple mistakes happen.

When you are really the go to person in the building for technology it is sometimes overwhelming. Believe it or not I do have a lot of knowledge stored in my head, but sometimes I just don’t know and can fall into the trap of acting like I know what I am doing and really don’t and that can be a big mistake! What do I mean by this? Sometimes there is someone else in the building who might know the answer. Well, again lets go back to that being on an island – or that “go to” person “who knows everything” in your building and that island can get pretty lonely.

So how do we cure the loneliness of the island? How do we help cure our island blues?

  • Know your areas of expertise – what can you answer, who can you help get what they need etc.
  • Know when to send the person on to someone else who knows more about the topic.
  • Ask for clarification on the issue or idea.
  • Admit that you don’t know the answer – but that you are happy to find out and get back to them.

I try to practice all four of these actively. The one I struggle with the most is the fourth one. I really want to provide answers right away – that is my customer service to my staff and students. Sometimes, things don’t have to be answered within the first two minutes of the conversation. Most are satisfied with the “I will get back to you” answer – as long as getting back to them is a #1 priority. As a TL my primary job is helping staff and students to find the correct information. When I admit that I don’t know the answer, but am happy to do a bit of research and get back to them it takes out the whole problem of making mistakes.

Mistakes tend to happen when we are rushed and don’t ask for clarification – my goal is to be more mindful of things that are asked of me and continue to practice the four steps above. This in turn will help me welcome people to my island!

Thankful to learn from others

It is week #2 of  #dcsdblogs challenge. The theme for this week is Teachers Learning from Teachers.

GCBarrier2

In my role as a TILT (Technology Integration Lead Teacher) and Teacher-Librarian many feel that I do or should know everything. What I can say is that is the furthest from the truth! I wish I could store that much information in my brain – but it might explode!

So as I was thinking of ideas of  what I wanted to write for this blog I kept coming back to the resources/teaching that I gain from my PLN on Twitter. We might not be in the same place or even the same time zones, but the ideas that I gain from my Twitter PLN are teaching me  new things and in turn I can then teach others! I am also fortunate enough to also work and learn from a great group of TILT’s (Technology Integration Lead Teachers). We share many ideas that are simple – but having those simple conversations in person or via email help to improve my learning which in turn helps to improve my teaching of others.

What it all boils down to is keeping it simple. Many might call that a “growth mindset”. Just like the quote above, if we are stuck in our own way of doing things we are not growing in our learning, which in turn affects how we teach our students and other teachers. It doesn’t always have to be an all day workshop, it can be a simple conversation in passing that help to increase our learning.

What are you doing to learn from others?

It is the small things that count (#DCSDblogs Week 1)

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As I begin this blogging challenge starting off with the challenge of blogging about “One Good Thing” that has happened in our week.

As most people in Davenport know the  high schools went to 1:1 Chromebooks late last fall. Needless to say this has been quite a challenge trying to collect permission slips, make sure digital citizenship test of knowledge quizzes were completed and then the actual device, charger and bag handed out to almost 1,200 students. It is a miracle, but we survived the initial distribution! Now comes the most challenging part – dealing with lost and stolen Chromebooks. There are lots of procedures in place, when a CB is reported lost or stolen,  that falls to the responsibility of the Teacher-Librarian. Sometimes even with all of the safety nets in place not everything goes as planned.

Back in February I had a student report his Chromebook missing. I marked it lost in our system, had it disabled by our technology department and encouraged the student to be on the lookout for it. I also told him that if it wasn’t found that it would cost $200.00 to replace. Needless to say he told his parents that he lost his Chromebook and they were very upset with him. A few weeks later he brought a check in for $200.00 to take care of his fine for losing the Chromebook. I asked if his parents were okay with him checking out another Chromebook. He told me “my parents said I can’t have another one until I am more responsible.” I totally understood his parents hesitation and probably would have said the same exact thing to my own children. The student and I talked about the hardship of not having a Chromebook in class would cause him. What I loved was that he totally took ownership of the whole situation and we talked about how he needed to be more focused in class, listening more intently so he knew what to do to complete the assignments on his Google account when he got home. He was also able to come to the library computer lab if needed during the day.

Fast forward six weeks (This is where my One Good Thing happens!) and a teacher comes to me with a Chromebook that had a message on the screen saying it had been disabled. The teacher wasn’t sure where the Chromebook had come from, but they found it in the classroom. I told the teacher that the message meant that the Chromebook had probably been reported lost or stolen. Low and behold, I looked the Chromebook barcode up in the system and found out it belonged to the student who had lost it in February! I was so excited!!! I immediately called him down to my office. The minute he walked in I said, “Guess what has been found?” The look of relief and then the broad smile that came over his face was absolutely priceless! He was so relieved and couldn’t believe it had been found! The student just kept smiling and breathing a sigh of relief as we talked about getting the Chromebook re-enabled and getting the process started for the $200.00 refund for his parents. The student came in the next morning, still breathing a sigh of relief, to tell me that his parents were beyond thrilled that the Chromebook had been found.

Trying to keep up with the 1:1 initiative is a challenge, but when students thank me for helping them figure out something with their Google account or Chromebook it makes it worth it! Sometimes “The One Good Thing” that happens in your week isn’t something that moves mountains. “The One Good Thing” can be something simple and personal that brings a sigh of relief and broad smile from someone in need, to know YOU have made a difference!