With school about to start this fall–both in person and virtually–I recently attended our district’s Virtual Teacher Bootcamp.
Frankly, like many who arrive at anything called a ‘boot-camp,’ I wasn’t entirely prepared for the experience.
Day One: First thing out of gate, the drill instructor (technology teacher) handed each of us an iPad. “This is the interface your students will use for virtual lessons,” she said with a scowl. Ok, maybe she was smiling. “Starting RIGHT NOW, you are going to get COMFORTABLE with it.” I immediately envisioned using this particular Apple product as a rather awkward pillow.
Ten Minutes Later: “Now that you understand how to use your weapon (iPad),” said our jovial guide, “we will explore the software used for virtual lessons.”
Now that I understand!? I barely know how to wake the !@#$ thing up and find the appropriate app and we’re moving on!
By the way, !@#$ stands for silly.
A glance around the room turns up nothing but digital native millennials using their tablets with one hand and their phones with the other, chatting all the while about building their bitmoji classrooms. Suddenly, I feel like a tech dinosaur. Just take me back to the chalkboard and ditto machine days of my youth, I thought. This is too MUCH!
Uh oh, the drill instructor is headed in my direction. How do they sense weakness? I just knew I was about to be culled from the herd.
“You don’t have to stick your face in it, you know?”
“Excuse me?” I said. “I mean, excuse me, drill instructor, sir!”
“The fire hose, don’t try to drink from it,” she said with a wink.
My increasingly patient and benevolent teacher then asked a crucial question: “What’s just one thing you wish you understood better?” I admitted, somewhat sheepishly, that I was uncomfortable with using the G-Suite for Education (a cloud-based bank of Google productivity tools). “Well, you’re in luck,” she said. “Google has a Teacher Center with free online interactive training.”
That night, and every evening that week, I spent 30 minutes in my PJs watching how to videos with some sparkly-eyed teachers from Silicon Valley. By Friday, I felt like a pro.
Money gained in the wrong way disappears. But money gathered little by little grows.Proverbs 13:11
Substitute the word knowledge for money, and this scripture describes my experience. Lack of technological expertise limited my ability to succeed with the virtual teacher software. I compensated by trying (rather pridefully) to drink from the firehose. A better approach, as my teacher suggested, was to make up my deficiencies one by one–to step out of the stream.
The end of the matter is better than the beginning. So it’s better to be patient than proud.Ecclesiastes 7:8
Few of us like to admit we’re unable to do something–especially in a room full of techy teachers young enough to be your children! How embarrassing.
But when pride eventually gave way to patience, and I admitted my need for remedial help, I was I able to move forward. By the end of boot camp I was almost able to keep up with the young folks!
You don’t have to stick your face in it. Start with what you know and then grow little by little.
It’s where you end up that counts, not where you begin. It’s better to be patient than proud.
You can do it. It just may take longer than you think.
We hope for what we don’t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it.Romans 8:25