Listen, Every Teacher is a Snowflake


For just 6 weeks now I’ve been in the role of technology coach at my school.

It has been an exciting time. Teachers have embraced the idea of having a person on staff who exists just for them. Somebody they can turn to and say, “What cool app is out there that could do x, y or z”? I’ve been kept incredibly busy and have loved every minute of it.

What I’ve discovered over this time is that every teacher really is unique. An english teacher has very little in common with a maths teacher who wouldn’t recognise a science teacher. Art teachers and Japanese teachers operate on completely different planes.

So my role has largely been one of listening. Being quiet for as long as possible while a teacher tells me all about their classroom, their practice, the curriculum, the assessment, all of it. I need a very clear picture of their classroom before I can even begin to speak.

all ears

I learnt the power of listening recently while doing a course on Growth Coaching with Nick Burnett from Growth Coaching International. During his 2 day growth coaching course he demonstrated the power of silence to get to the root of what people are trying to achieve. I’m amazed by how much people will say if you just learn to shut up.

Now Nick probably wouldn’t call me a “coach” in the true sense of the word. Coaches don’t offer solutions, instead allowing the “coachee” to arrive at their own plans. But as a technology coach, I believe it’s my job to keep up to date and to provide the solutions that others don’t know exist yet.

Once I’ve listened as hard as I can though I spring into action. For the english Head of Subject, the key idea they wanted was “Collaboration”. So we started looking at advanced google docs usage and some fantastic add-ons, lucidchart mind maps and collaborative poetry appreciation with Prism.

Prism Demo.gifPrism: Words change size depending on how many students highlighted them

For the art department their ideas were around accountability and digital art journals. We’re currently working towards rolling out blogger accounts for all students. Making journals available to the public in a blog format, allowing comments from other students, teachers and the general public is an idea staff are excited about.

The Japanese teachers in my school have a crushing marking workload. Some teachers are responsible for 300+ students, All of whom need to be assessed at the end of this term. Enter the power of Google Forms + Flubaroo to do the marking for them. They also wanted something super “Kawaii” for creating listening tests, so enter the hilariously gimmicky “FaceRig“.facerig gif.gif
The hilarious FaceRig in action.

So, there’s just a few tools that teachers at my school have decided to integrate into their classrooms this week. Each carefully chosen for a specific purpose after a whole lot of listening.

There’s 130+ teachers at my school all doing something a little different. Tomorrow I meet with Marine Science HOS. He sent me this picture yesterday and I have no idea what it is. I wonder how we can use technology to help students learn about that?!



  1. Would love to work in a school with someone like you…someone who’s job is purely to support and provide EduTechnology guidance, support, and ideas to teachers. Sounds like an amazing school to work in.

    1. The key to getting a job like this in most schools is proving that the need exists. I did the job for a long time unofficially while teaching a full load before they gave me the role.

  2. I love the look of FaceRig – imagine students coming in to that as their teacher as you had pre recorded the lessons instructions or could see them on webcam but they couldn’t see you. My little kids would love it.

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