The week leading up to student progress reports are typically an above average stressful time. Teachers feel overwhelmed and are meticulously checking their lists to make sure they accomplished all they need. In our staff meeting today, it was apparent that teachers plates were full. A couple committees were giving information regarding deadlines and work needed from classroom teachers. As I was sitting there, it appeared that people were resistant to what they were being asked to do. It was surprising to see from my staff as, typically, everyone is “all in” and open to trying new things. I had to think and reflect a little. I was feeling a little disappointed in what I saw but later realized what was the route of the issue. The resistance is not because they do not feel what is being presented is good for the students, or even that it would be a tremendous amount of work, it was because of time. Time can certainly be our enemy in the classroom. We are continually facing changes and initiatives and we have no choice but to accept them. So what often appears to be resistance is a result of teachers priorities and what is working best for them.
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How is this relating to the world of technology in the classroom? Teachers are maxed out! I was doing some reading in this area and found two articles that support how we are feeling. On pages 32 and 33 of, “A Framework for Addressing Challenges to Classroom Technology Use” by Jennifer Groff and Chrystalla Mouza. They highlight the role of the classroom teacher. The article states other elements like: Division, administration, and parents but I am going to focus on the classroom teacher. “Effective use of technology often requires extensive changes in classroom routines which can also produce significant levels of anxiety and concern.” (2008, p. 32) Change in routine requires a new time management task. I think from a primary level where it takes, at this time of year, an average of 10 extra minutes to get a class ready to go outside for recess. Introducing student blogs, tablets, tools for making videos, whatever the new program takes time. It is difficult to manage and if you are not comfortable in the area it also comes with nerves. I think that we put too much pressure on ourselves. We want to make things perfect and be the “master” when we are introducing new tools. It is possible but it requires extra time to become familiar… hence the resistance. It can be done! Teachers do adapt but we all need to support each other to be patient. Our students are learning incredible skills from us.
The second article, “WHY ARE TEACHERS RESISTANT TO CHANGE? KEY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION”, speaks about teacher attitude. Certainly our attitude towards new initiatives can be resistant but I know personally I always come around. My experience in the schools I have taught in is similar. Some may take more time than others but eventually we embrace the change. This article is not a new publication. I might suggest that data would be different if assessed recently. Teacher’s are not as resistant to technology in the classroom but perhaps the type of technology and how it is introduced. Our attitudes change throughout our careers and if we were being asked about new initiatives in these recent weeks, most of us would should that resistance the articles are speaking of because of other areas that require our attention.
What I am suggesting is that teachers do get the work required done and go beyond. We have many obstacles in our way but we find way to overcome them. Just as time can be a contributing factor to resistance it eventually is the same factor that aids us in our patience. Remember, the next time you see resistance from a colleague. Think about where they are at and where they are coming from. It isn’t because they do not care. We know teachers have a tremendous capacity to care.