There has always been a Tech Coach at every school in America.
That person may not have a fancy title, an extra planning period, and most likely not even extra pay. However, there has been a Tech Coach in every single school in America. And chances are, if you do not know who that person might be, well, it could be you.
Informal Tech Coach
In school buildings teachers quickly identify peers who can help with certain tasks. And one of the first people identified is a Tech Coach. A fellow teacher who is not only capable, but helpful with the available technology. Who happily helps another teacher because to do so is to help more students by extension.
Sometimes the informal title is more of a compliment than one might realize. No one compelled you to help others, no one gave you an extra duty to complete – you do it out of passion!
Embrace Being the Influencer
A natural enthusiasm for teaching and technology might propel you to the role of Tech Coach for your school, but what does that mean? Right now, it might not mean any difference in pay or title, but it is meaningful. You can provide assistance to many teachers and therefore reach more students than otherwise possible from your single classroom – that’s awesome! While it does means more work it also means showing leadership skills, being a problem solver, and have the room to offer solutions to building/district leaders that others do not have the opportunity to do.
It also means you can exert your influence. You could turn your school on to a new tool that you think is worthwhile; you could be the person at the school to create/support movements. This is helpful to the other teachers since you are their (expert) support, and helpful to you since you ‘learn’ fewer programs.
Use your Powers for Good
You might be surprised how becoming the teacher-who-helps-other-teachers elevates you in the view of your building leadership. Make sure that you use that power wisely when the time comes.
First, there is nothing wrong with asking your principal for this to be a full-time job. Just be prepared for either answer:
Sorry I can’t. Right now most schools would have a hard time doing this financially. Teachers need to be justified by the students they teach, not the teachers. Sooo… have another request in your back pocket. If the Principal cannot make this a full-time job, can you have two extra planning periods? Could you have an extended day contract? Could you have more technology in your classroom? You get the idea. Your Principal is likely to say yes to the smaller request and now s/he has you identified for that position if something makes it possible.
Okay sure! If this happens – lucky you! Honestly, if that happens you should be giving us advice on how to do that.
Second, and especially if you are given something in exchange for your leadership in technology at your school, some teachers may be jealous. Your media specialist might feel threatened. The best thing to do is to honestly address how much time it was taking you to help other teachers and that the extra (money/time/technology) help from your Principal makes it easier to make that sacrifice. When others hear you are still giving more than you get sometimes that helps them not be so envious of your position. Make certain to be clear so as to not create overlap in jobs. And remember that any power you gain does not necessarily come at the cost of another, you are both working to make your school better!
We know who you are at your school, you Tech Coaches, you hope that you gain the recognition you deserve soon, but until then keep building your teachers up and making your school a better place!