A Technology Coach’s Biggest Mistake: Part Two

As we said before, getting teachers to adopt new practices with technology isn’t easy. In our first installment, we provided some tips to keep you from making the mistake of ignoring teacher buy-in. In this final installment, we offer two more tips to help you avoid this common mistake.

A Guide to Getting Your Teachers Onboard 

Listen…no…REALLY listen.

A good coach is a mentor and confidant. You are there to listen to your teachers’ concerns and help make them better – not just tell them what to do. The quicker you move out of an approach that makes you look like a “superior,” the more successful you will be. One way to do that is to ask questions and then process the answers together.

  • Ask Important Questions. It’s always nice to ask questions and have conversations in person, but sending out surveys and providing a platform for feedback can also be effective in helping to achieve buy-in. Be reflective after listening to feedback. How can the information you are getting be used to build better buy-in?

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • How can I help you be successful?
  • What can I do better to help communicate our goals?
  • Can you tell me about some successes you’re having?

Do What You Say, Say What You Do

If you want teachers to buy-in to your ideas, make sure you are working to build their trust. One of the most important parts of buy-in is knowing that being part of a vision will translate into real results. This can only happen if others have faith and trust in leadership.

  • Think before you answer questions. It is okay if you don’t know the answer to a question right away. Tell teachers you will get back to them with a response, and then be sure to follow up. If you answer too quickly, you run the risk of giving false information and losing their trust.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Unless you are certain the solutions you suggest can become a reality, don’t mention them. Even if you have good intentions, violating this rule will damage your credibility and the trust you have worked so hard to build.
  • Follow through. Make lists, take notes, and use calendars to make sure you are keeping the commitments that you have made to teachers. It is also important to follow up on issues before teachers check back in with you. Showing them respect for their time shows them their value in helping to create the vision.

The secrets to a successful technology integration aren’t really secrets. If you are a coach or leader working with teachers, the first step is to invest the time necessary to engage them in the process.