Saturday, May 10, 2014

Comfortably Uncomfortable

A colleague recently told me that they didn't incorporate technology into their teaching because they weren't comfortable with it like I was. I listened and thought that was a fair comment.  But the more I mulled it over, I realized that in her statement was the assumption that I am comfortable with technology. I began to think about what it is like for me when I try something new with my students.  

Am I comfortable?  

Well, no, not with the technology itself at least. I am comfortable though with the fact that my students and I will run into trouble. I am comfortable exploring something that might not turn out the way I envisioned. Quite simply, my comfort is in the fact that I don't need to be 100% in control. When my lesson plan is flexible, we are open to whatever questions and problems arise. Sometimes the plan is to let my students' questions be the plan and see where that leads us.  I've come to realize that my favorite student response now isn't, "Mrs. Fanning, I understand." But rather, "Mrs. Fanning, I figured it out."  

So no, I am not comfortable with technology. And any teacher who utilizes it knows that to use technology, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  (Well, maybe not for teachers like my special education teammate, who holds a degree in computer science.)  As the song goes, you have to just let it go, trust in your students and yourself as their guide, and know that true teaching is showing kids the power of playing and making mistakes in order to learn.

This isn't meant to be an argument that teachers must use technology. (I'll save that for another post.) At the very least, being uncomfortable shouldn't be used as an excuse for not using it.