I've been in my current position for just about two years. I've been involved in a lot of projects, conversations, meetings, politics, classrooms, teachers, conferences, twitter chats, workshops, PD opportunities, video-conferencing, and teaching. There's a lot that goes on in the "back end" of this job... in school districts, ISDs, tech services, etc, that keeps a school district running smoothly. It has most definitely been very eye-opening to me and I've really grown to very much appreciate the countless individuals that make up this community of "smooth running-ness".
While I'm aware of all of these things, one thing sticks out to me at the very heart of a school district: At the end of the day, a teacher is there to teach and a student is there to learn. At the most fundamental level of every single classroom in this great mitten state, every single student is in school to learn and every teacher is there to help them achieve this outcome.
As a tech integrationist, it is my practice to support that single fundamental goal. Of course, there are COUNTLESS other goals I need to have when stepping into a classroom. When the dust settles, though, it all comes down to one thing: Student learning. How can I, as a tech integrationist, support this particular teacher, who supports all of these students (some up to 180+ students in a day!) Which tools, best practices, models, etc, do I need to pull out of my box... Or, do I even have a box to pull out of? Is it something so wildly unfamiliar that we'll be navigating new waters together to achieve a new level of student learning?
Before I even start this process, one thing is for sure: It starts with respect. The teachers that I work with deserve to be respected for their craft. They are the content experts. They are pedagogical geniuses. They know their STUFF. How can I show them that I respect and appreciate them and all that they do for their students, parents, fellow teachers, district, community and world? However I manage to do it, it is of the utmost importance that they know from me and from my actions that they have my respect when we meet for the first, second, twentieth, or hundredth time. I've found, in these last few years, that this respect is the one thing that breaks down the barriers of tech integration vs. teachers, and it has opened so many more doors than I could ever imagine. It has built up great relationships at every level of my work environment. Because of this, I am able to really be involved at a whole new level and help create a new culture of technological pedagogy in this district.
It has been a great and rewarding experience. The best has yet to come!