Thursday, March 27, 2008

cart in front of horse, now what?

Interactive white boards now hang prominently in every classroom at my school. For some, they are a welcome addition. For others, they are a curious, slightly alienating device. And for one teacher, his board is, full sarcasm included, the tool that will, after 15 years, make him a good teacher.

Here's a multiple choice quiz. One question. Three choices, and each, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, could impact your future.
You have just finished installing interactive white boards. You email those teachers who, upon returning from Spring Break, will have the boards in their rooms. You ask for a time to teach them how to use the board. One response does not give a date and time. This email is a nugget of sarcasm, attacking the technology as a substitute for quality teaching by stating that 'finally, I'll become a good teacher'.

What's your next move?

A) Attract more bees with honey than vinegar. Send a soothing email full of complimentary adjectives about this teacher (dedicated, standards-based, well-dressed). Affirm his underlying concerns. Say something like, "good teachers don't need any tools, just children to teach". Avoid a formal meeting date. Instead, conduct casual drop-ins. Bring sugar-free cookies.

B) Meet the teacher in his wheel-house - the Scantron machine. Ask for a clarification to the phrase, 'now I'll be a good teacher'. Say something like, "Funny, I always thought of myself as a good teacher long before any technology entered the classroom." Continue talking. "Gosh, it's funny how you use the computer in your class everyday. I wonder how you reacted when you got one of those. Or that overhead projector, you must've resisted that for quite some time. Almost a shame that you use it everyday." Finish with, "Maybe one day you'll teach me how to use the Scantron." Take your sugar-free cookies back.

C) Do nothing. No email. No confrontational meeting by the Scantron. Leave this teacher alone. Allow him to turn his students' seats ninety degrees to the other board. Mourn over his student's loss of equity and the selfishness of a omni-phobic teacher. Console yourself by eating sugar-laced cookies.


Jenny said...

Whatever gets done, good luck! These sorts of situations are so frustrating. We, luckily, began with just a few interactive whiteboards in rooms of teachers who requested them. Their use increased interest throughout the school and our principal bought them as folks wanted them and their was funding. Not everyone uses them well, but everyone is trying.

The title of the post says it all.

Farfisa said...

Are there any cookies left for me? My favorite scenario is the complaint that now there is a lovely white board, the speakers were installed far away and it makes showing movies disorienting...

I'll bring the milk, btw.

Taylor said...

Awesome! I say there's probably a fourth possibility. Maybe Bender could help us figure it out! ~i know you don't like futurama, but you know what bender always says...~

Glad you're back!

J.D. Williams said...

I would go with your last option for a couple of weeks. Let the students talk him into it. They'll hear about what the other teachers are doing with the smartboard and get jealous. Then they'll ask him why they aren't getting to use it.

I've had a Smartboard for about 3 years. I don't think I could be as effective of a teacher without it.