Tech Teacher Appreciation Week – Ask a Tech Teacher

Dorothy S. Bass

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I posted this article last yr, acquired plenty of reads, so am republishing with some updates. I’ve included information and facts about:

  • How tech lecturers are different than other instructors
  • Why tech and the teacher who manages it in your university has turn out to be much more significant than at any time
  • How to speak to a tech trainer (trace: they’re a little unique heed these recommendations)
  • Items tech instructors will love

Tech Instructor Appreciation Week: The Very first Comprehensive 7 days of May perhaps

There’s usually been anything mystically cerebral about people in specialized professions like engineering, science, and mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, discussion the structure of atoms, even smile at the point out of calculus. The teaching job has our own variation of these nerdy individuals, called know-how teachers. In your district, you may refer to them as IT specialists, Coordinators for Instructional Technological innovation, Engineering Facilitators, Curriculum Experts, or anything else that infers huge brains, fast minds, and the capability to converse to digital equipment. School lore probably says they can drop a pin by means of a straw with no touching the sides.

When I started off teaching K-8 technology, persons like me had been stuffed into a corner of the creating exactly where all other lecturers could keep away from us until they experienced a pc emergency, pretending that what we did was for “some other educator in an alternate dimension”. Simply speaking to us normally made a colleague feel like a rock, only dumber. When my fellow academics did search for me out — generally to check with for support and almost never to request training — they’d occur to my home, notebook in hand, and adhere to the noise of my fingers flying across the keyboard. It constantly surprised them I could make eye speak to and say “Hi!” without stopping or slowing my typing.

That reticence to request for enable or request instruction improved about a ten years in the past when engineering swept throughout the tutorial landscape like a firestorm:

  • iPads and then Chromebooks grew to become the gadget of preference in the classroom.
  • Course screens became a lot more norm than abnorm(al).
  • Technological innovation in the classroom modified from “nice to have” to “must have”.
  • 1:1 turned a reality.
  • Pupils investigated on-line as typically as in the library.
  • Pupils began shelling out as a lot time in the electronic neighborhood as their household city.
  • Textbooks morphed into methods instead than bibles.
  • Scholar function was saved in the cloud and submitted digitally instead than as sheets of paper into the teacher’s Inbox (that definitely was a box).
  • Students collaborated on do the job, sharing practically, and then printed digitally.

That produced the tech trainer (or what ever you get in touch with her in your faculty) the cornerstone to all items education, which brings me to the gist of this article: Trainer Appreciation 7 days. This year, for that unique working day, give your technologies specialist a present they will definitely respect: Chat to them. In advance of attempting this, do a very little investigation about these geeky folks who relish problems and reside for a dilemma they just cannot solve. Here’s a small checklist of tips, taken from my personal own knowledge and that of my tech teacher close friends, that will aid you have a extra beneficial expertise when you confront this major-brained Sheldon-seem-like (if this is acquainted, it’s because I posted it previous yr also nevertheless, it is copyrighted so never borrow without having attribution):

  • You just can’t scare them. They’re techies. Try kindness alternatively.
  • Endurance and tech are synonymous. Techies are intrigued by difficulties so never mind paying out loads of time on them. Know that going in.
  • Convey meals. Techies normally fail to remember to try to eat, or ate almost everything in their snack stash and need far more.
  • Some days, tech appears to be a large amount like work. Distract them with an attention-grabbing challenge.
  • Start off the come upon with a dialogue on Dr. Who, Minecraft, Major Bang Principle, or Sport of Thrones. Discover a intelligent tie-in to your matter.
  • Have an understanding of that tech instructors typically feel making an attempt to teach colleagues to tech is like resolving the Riemann Hypothesis (quite a few contemplate this darling of mathematical complications difficult). Bone up on basics before the Meeting.
  • Daily life after the 100th crashed laptop is what could possibly be called a daily life-defining instant. If that just happened to the tech teacher as you walked via the door, change all over and come back one more time.
  • Comprehension a techie who’s in the zone is like being familiar with the meaning of lifestyle. Again – go away the place come back later.
  • Although tech teachers can get your computer system performing, your Smartscreen humming, and your college students all online at when, there are days they need a dictionary to have an understanding of daily English. Be gentle.
  • Know the change between the “happy-techie” confront and the “go away” experience. Act appropriately.
  • Their heads are like Matrix on steroids. Never test to realize them – until, of class, you are a geek much too. Then, you’ll experience at dwelling.
  • The tech instructor does try to remember situations when colleagues solved their possess tech complications and appreciate it. So, do consider to correct your damaged personal computer oneself (i.e., test the plugs and electric power buttons) just before browsing.
  • Steer clear of words and phrases this kind of as “Meh”. These commenced geeky but are now so mainstreamed as to be dull. Geeks, nerds, and tech instructors loathe becoming bored.

If you’re by now on speaking phrases with your university techie, in this article are a couple gifts they’ll like better than put up-it notes or a new scarf:

  • treats — chocolate, chips, pretzels, or anything eaten rapidly and by hand. They’re permitted to try to eat at their keyboard mainly because they know how to resolve it.
  • a issue they’ve never noticed right before
  • a little something prepared in binary, hexadecimal, or Klingon
  • tickets to the Las Vegas Defcon, one particular of the world’s biggest hacker conventions. You don’t even have to go with them.
  • a t-shirt that suggests “I paused my recreation to be here” or “Pavlov’s Cat”

If you really do not realize a single of these presents (like hexadecimal, DEF CON, or Pavlov’s Cat), really don’t give it to them. Techies are curious and may possibly ask you about it.

Other items to steer clear of would be any that revolve about the 3 P’s: 1) paper (like letter-writing paper or post-it notes), 2) pencils, or 3) plastic. I know–#3 is challenging to avoid but geeks, nerds, and tech teachers have a better-than-normal intolerance for destroying the ecosystem.

That is it. I’d enjoy to hear what innovative gift you gave your school’s tech trainer.


Jacqui Murray has been instructing K-18 technologies for 30 many years. She is the editor/author of above a hundred tech ed sources together with a K-12 technological innovation curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Electronic Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Learn Trainer, webmaster for 4 weblogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed matters, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and 20-four Days. You can obtain her methods at Structured Discovering.

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