“You can’t do it all.” These were the words one of my new colleagues shared with me near the end of last week. They were a good reminder as I was quite tempted to try to “do it all,” even if that wasn’t really possible. I was filled with enthusiasm for my new position and very aware of my long (and growing) to-do list. The words stuck with me and I returned to my classroom to prioritize what needed to be done immediately, what was feasible before the week ended, and what had to be put off until the next week.
My schedule filled up quickly as I continued to learn more about the school culture, prepared for various technology projects across different grades, and continued with my classroom setup. Some of my progress involved learning through trial-and-error. For example, I discovered that it was much more powerful to email the entire staff and reach out personally for their help in saving cafeteria containers for our keyboard project instead of just putting signs up asking people to save them. Other parts of my week involved creating and updating new organizational tools, such as a Google Form I had made for faculty to request help or resources and suggest new ideas. Through teacher feedback, I learned that some portions of the form needed to be shorter and other parts required additional questions so I had enough information to provide help.
I also had the opportunity to work hands-on with some of the new SMART Boards and learn through exploration as I connected cords and helped teachers download the necessary software. But one of the most meaningful parts of the week was having the chance to eat lunch with students each day or help with recess. This allowed me to start to get to know students, which is so important in building the meaningful relationships that provide a foundation to facilitate relevant and engaging student-led project work!
This week, the relationship-building has continued, as I’ve begun to visit individual classes to introduce our technology projects and as students have begun to visit the tech lab. It’s exciting to introduce new tools to the students and see their eyes light up when they realize their voices can be recorded and played back through the computer (Voicethread) or their words can be written on top of photos (Skitch). I’m looking forward to working one-on-one with more students later in the week and starting to really learn their names (which is a huge help!) as we work together.