It was recently said at our opening day "pep rally" that teaching is great because each year we as teachers get a chance to start fresh. And new teaching strategies can sometimes be no different than finding new fad diets thanks to platforms like Pinterest. However the big ticket item at our school this year, Technology, is not a fad! So as I think about how to best support my colleagues as a Teacher on Assignment this year, I think the best advice I can give them going into the first week is to have a Tech rip cord!
Why might you need a Tech rip cord? Well perhaps a kid is honestly having issues with technology (They are not all Tech wizards!) or perhaps the WiFi is slow, maybe the power goes out...whatever. The other reason is because if you are doing something new you have to train the kids how to do something new. And beware because they will be trying to drop Weapons of Mass Confusion (i.e. convincing you the Tech is not working; that they can't remember their password etc. etc. etc.) Its an added stress to teaching a lesson if you have to also decipher whether they are telling the truth or not! But that is the game of cat and mouse that the student and the teacher have always and will always play; the nature of the beast!
So be ready and have alternate assignments ready...it does not have to be an elaborate project...all you'll need is some loose-leaf and a pen. Make them create visuals of what they want their PowerPoint slides to look like next time they have access or have them write an outline explaining the point of the project..or even have a massive packet 1980's style ready for when they are trying to avoid using Tech and I promise after that first week they will get on board! They will find a way! You set the tone, not the other way around! You must know WHY you doing what you're doing and let them in on it too! Engage them in ways that are new to you...think about what gets their attention (YouTube videos...social media...the internet) and find ways to bring that magic into your educational realm!