Welcome back to Week 2 of the series, Oh, If Only I’d Known. This week, we are going to be looking at a tip that I think is applicable no matter how many years you have taught! It is one that may be seen as a ‘duh’ tip but it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind.
Expect your technology to fail.
That is the tip. Always be prepared in case technology fails on you, the power goes out, the Internet does the spinny circle of death thing as the webpage refuses to load, etc., etc., etc. Trust me, it’s going to happen some day and it will probably happen on the day that you’ve got that super amazing, super awesome technology-stuffed lesson planned.
I recommend you always have a backup. As a first-year teacher, that can be hard. It’s your first time teaching the subject and you probably don’t have worksheets in your back pocket that you can pull out at a moment’s notice. Textbooks are great in this instance – although I’m not suggesting you treat the textbook like the Bible – because you can, in a pinch, have the students all go to such-and-such page and read the section like in the Dark Ages! Videos that can be portrayed on the Promethean board if your own computer is working are also helpful. Sometimes, I print a bunch of articles or worksheets and keep them in reserve just in case.
When I was a first-year teacher, we didn’t have Chromebooks yet. We were 5 years away from being a 1-1 school. We didn’t even have the Chromebook carts yet. All we had were computer labs with those big, blocky Dell desktops that were new when I was in school. One day, I planned this awesome lesson. The kids were going to use the computers to create Facebook pages for some of the famous thinkers of the Enlightenment. They would be able to add friends of the thinkers, status updates, the works. I was pumped because it was going to be so insanely incredible. I marched those little darlings down to the computer lab and they got started. Three computers wouldn’t turn on. One computer emitted a shrill whistle constantly unless we turned it off. Several students got booted off the website before they finished their first Facebook profile.
Technology was not my friend that day. But, because I was a first year teacher and hadn’t considered that the computer lab would go kaput on me, I didn’t have a backup plan. We kept muddling through and I just prayed for the day to be over. By the time 7th period rolled around, half the computers weren’t working. Halfway through the class, I gave up completely, took them back to the room, and put on CNN Student News.
Not my finest hour.
Now, I make sure I have something in reserve, even if it is just textbook work. I think that is very important because you never know when something is going to go wrong. My school is now 1-1 with Chromebooks so you’ve sometimes got 400+ students on the network at the same time which can cause it’s own sorts of problems!
Technology is great – as long as it works. My recommendation to you as you get ready for your first year as a teacher? Always have a backup.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you experienced the tech fails? Do you have any tips for things to have on hand as backups? I’d love to hear about it! Sound off in the comments!
For now…that’s a wrap!