Tech Coach, Technology Integration Specialist, Digital Learning Coach, co-worker, teammate, etc. These are just a few of the titles of people a teacher will go to for technology support or training. Just as in every other field of occupation, there are people at varying technological skill levels in the teaching field. This usually occurs due to either: 1) Lack of training; or 2) Lack of confidence. Our job as a Tech Coach is not to emphasize this deficiency, but to educate and to encourage. As we lend the support they are calling on us for, we must build up their confidence as well as their skills.
Although these principles apply to most all “customer service” fields, we will focus on why these are so important in the TIS role. As a Technology Integration Specialist within the instructional environment, we are, in fact, holding a leadership role, whether administrative or just support. Here are three important tips to remember as we serve our teachers and staff.
First and foremost, it is important to introduce yourself to the staff with which you work. Initially, that can be just an email introducing yourself with the basics of Who, What(position and duties), and How(contact info). This should not be the extent of your contact with your new staff. It is important that you establish that personal contact by visiting them in person, probably at a staff meeting and introducing yourself. Be sure to let them know your qualifications. You want to make the staff feel at ease with you and comfortable in asking for help. If they haven’t seen your face or even heard your voice they will hesitate to contact you if they think you are an invisible entity sitting in an office. Make it known that you are available to them and want to be in their classrooms as needed.
When a teacher or staff member comes to you, listen to them. Hear them out. Just as with any life situation, we all want to be heard when we are experiencing an issue that we are requesting help for. As well as for their comfort of asking for help, we must also listen so that we fully understand the issue they are experiencing. We all know how assumptions work! Listening is critical for both sides of the experience. After you have heard them out, then you can start looking into the issue and offer solutions. If the problem is too big for you to handle, explain to “the customer” that you are going to work hard to find them an answer in a timely manner. Be persistent using all resources available including co-workers, the IT department, or even tech supports via online chat or telephone…(Wahoo). Oh yeah, and there’s always Google.
Follow-up is another important aspect of “customer service”. If you are working on an issue for a teacher/staff, make sure you follow up with updates and resolution in a timely manner. This assures them that they haven’t been forgotten, even if resolutions don’t come quickly. If you are assisting a teacher in implementing technology into their lesson plan, be sure to check-up on them periodically. This assures that they keep on track with the plan, and they don’t retreat to former ways. You’ll realize certain teachers/staff members need more encouragement with newer technologies than others do. Do not give up on them. We all have our areas of expertise, and areas of not-so-much. Follow-up also allows for opportunities to go deeper into new concepts where some may just get comfortable with staying in the shallow end. If you don’t follow up, they may soon give up and lose excitement that they initially held.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind. Customer service is a huge aspect of being a technology support specialist, coach, TIS, etc. Providing GREAT customer service is an awesome responsibility! Remember, we are all part of the same team: EDUCATORS. We are each using our gifts and expertise to support and encourage each other for one common goal: molding our students in a successful direction. As I conclude this post, I am reminded of Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12.
15 “For the body is not one member, but many.”
20 “But now are they many members, yet but one body.”
21 “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.