So many educators at all ends of the spectrum are trippin’ out these days because of technology. Literally, people are buggin’ out everywhere.
I just heard about a district that purchased Smart Boards for every classroom in the school and MANDATED that all educators use them daily. Being that they spent so much money (and, I assume, drank the Kool-Aid on what the salesperson told them was possible with these devices) the district literally mandated their use.
And two veterans on the staff choose to retire instead of learn how to incorporate these tools into their room on a daily basis.
Does it need to come to this?
From what I was told, the two teachers that retired were both 25+ year vets who still wanted to teach for at least another 5-8 years. And, from what I was told, they were also “good” teachers. These weren’t lemons being squeezed out in a situation where the other members on the staff were thinking, “Phew! Only 24 years, 11 months and 3 weeks too late for them!”
These were, by all accords, two good teachers.
But they just didn’t “get it” when it came to SmartBoards. And worse yet, they just had no real ambition to “get it”. So the district accepted their resignations.
On one hand, as teachers we need do indeed need to continue to grow in the classroom. Both our practice and our tools must evolve as our careers go forward. Since progress doesn’t stop – and since teaching is an art no one really masters – we must be (buzzword alert!) the “lifelong learners” we all too easily tell our students they need to remember to be.
So in my opinion, these teachers could have done a bit more to remain open to the possibilities.
On the other hand, what in the world did the district think they were buying when they purchased those SmartBoards? A “good” teacher is more valuable than a good tool for teaching. Because lots of good tools exist.
But good tools don’t affect the lives of young people the way good teachers do… not even close!
And that, I am afraid, is not going to change.
Allowing this to devolve into an ultimatum feels like folly. “Either use the darn SmartBoard or tender your resignation” doesn’t seem like great school leadership to me. I mean if you are willing to kick “good” teachers to the curb in the name of touch-screen white boards, then why not buy a series of Master lessons on DVD, play them on the tv screens of your classrooms and hire a bunch of security guards to patrol the perimeter to make sure no one is talking, off task, or chewing gum while the instructional video plays.
And if kids don’t have their homework, off to the CLINK!
Plus, if you really think about it, those SmartBoards are going to be outdated before those teachers will.
What, you think that 5 years from now the current piece of “new” technology won’t look to us like a quaint cassette tape recorder?
Check out any computer from 5 years ago. It looks practically prehistoric. (That’s if it can even run the latest software in the first place, too.)
But having good teachers on staff for 5 years? Are they not a more precious resource that all else on our campuses?
In this day and age, it boggles the mind.