Summer is the best time for students, teachers, tech coaches, and administrators to take a break from the busy school year. With so much new information being exchanged throughout a school year the summer months are helpful for students and educators to digest and reflect on the past 8 months. So how do you ensure that growth doesn’t plateau during the summer months? We recently sat down with the host of the #EduDuctTape Podcast, Tech Integration Coach, former STEM teacher, influencer, speaker, and presenter, Jake Miller, to find out how K-12 technology coaches can maintain continual growth during the summer months.

Advice for K-12 Technology Coaches

The upcoming school year will look quite different from what students and teachers were previously accustomed to; however, no one can predict what next semester will really look like. What we do know is that K-12 technology coaches will play an even larger role in education than before. Tech coaches will spend much of the back-to-school season ensuring that teachers are comfortable with technology tools they have available so that lessons and learning can commence smoothly. Jake explained, “I like to get the message across to teachers that there’s not one right way to do things in the classroom.” 

Everyone has their own preference for tools and methods based on their own knowledge and skill set. Jake emphasized giving teachers the freedom to express their own voice and continue to make the classroom their own. The comfortability of teachers is crucial in the success of the technology. 

Once teachers start to become uncomfortable with the technology or the way learning is going in their classroom they are more likely to become apprehensive about new technology tools. Early in his career, Jake noticed that just like students, teachers all learn and adapt at different paces

Some teachers need more time than others to adjust to technology and find what ways are most comfortable for them to teach using the technology – and that is okay.

“As long as [teachers] are moving forward and in the interest of their students, then they should be applauded for that,” Jake explained. Teachers don’t have to be moving at the same speed or using the same tools as the teacher next to them or down the hall from them. Keeping the best interests of students in mind is all that matters when transitioning a classroom.

5 Ways to Grow During the Summer as a K-12 Technology Coach

1. Identify the needs and goals you have

Use the summer to reflect on the past school year. Think about what worked and what could’ve gone better. Once you have figured out areas of improvement or new interests, goals can be formed. SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, & time-based) short term goals work best for the summer months.

2. Find the voices centered around these topics 

After you have identified your goals you can research who is talking in alignment with what your goals are. Look for videos, articles, blogs, vlogs, workshops, crash courses, etc. Social media is a great way to find creators and communities with similar goals. 

3. Consume content centered around these topics 

Read, watch, pay attention, consume, learn. Anything you can do with the free time you have during the summer to get closer to reaching your goals, do it. There are absolutely no consequences to getting ahead or being on top of your game.

4. Engage in content 

When and if you feel comfortable enough, directly engage with creators and people in your personal learning community. This way you can feel more connected and supported by others in the same boat as you. By becoming more involved you are able to consume much more information and content, therefore, reaching your goals faster.

5. Identify ways to transfer what you learned into the classroom

Apply what you learned over the summer to your classroom and create an even better learning environment for your students. All information is valuable when used correctly. Teach your students the correct skills to build professional development adequately.

Jake gave us some suggestions for ways to find inspiration to grow and learn professionally. If you are having a hard time making the jump to further your growth, listen to Seth Godin. Seth is a great speaker who inspires people to make a positive change. He provides insight on how to market your ideas and become a better communicator of knowledge and content.

If your school uses google classroom then the Google Teacher Podcast with hosts Matt Miller and Kasey Bell is great to listen to. This podcast will keep you up to date with all your Google Classroom news and how to use the tools. 

Use the 5 steps above to become an even better K-12 technology coach. Continue growth during the summer months and give yourself more purpose by setting clear goals and finding the resources to achieve those goals. 

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