Meeting the man at the top

I wasn’t quite certain what to expect when meeting the principal of Wavecrest Primary School Wednesday.

I’ll be working with the faculty at Wavecrest next week to help their teachers who attended our Cape Town workshops further integrate tech into their teaching. I’m also hoping to work with their ICT Committee to set up a structured, regular schedule for meeting to achieve the school’s vision for ICT integration.

Those were the ideas in my head prior to meeting with the principal.
I knew full well they could fall by the wayside – or waveside (sorry).

Each member of our team is paired with a school identified by Edunova as most likely to benefit from some one-on-one attention in our last week here.

I’d heard varying stories from the other principal meetings. One had waved it off and said we should speak with the school’s LAN Administrator*. While not standing in the way of ICT integration, that principal wasn’t willing to make room on his plate for taking it on as his own priority either.

Some pieces of this process really do translate internationally.

These meetings can also be tricky if we run into an overzealous principal. The one who asks for full-faculty trainings, repairs to a long-defunct computer lab, physical resources, etc.

The whole idea behind EBB is capacity building.

We work with those on the ground here to build their knowledge and plans for passing that knowledge on.

If I give a whole-faculty workshop on the ins and outs of PowerPoint, the learning’s more than likely to stop once I walk o

ut the door. Teachers are sometimes left waiting for the next year’s team to pick up where I left off, not building their skills throughout the year. It

might be doing the right things, but it wouldn’t be doing things right.

As much as I was braced for the aloof, uninvolved principal, I was prepared for the hyper-interested, high-maintenance principal as well.

Wavecrest presented me with neither.

Waiting in for our meeting, I saw three of the teachers from the week before. I got hugs.

When my colleagues from Edunova, Khosi and Benji, and I sat down with the principal, he was gregarious and welcoming.

After formal introductions, I asked what help we might be able to provide around ICT integration in the coming week.

His teachers lack confidence, he said. They need to know they can use technology without fear.

“What about the school’s ICT committee?” I asked.

We have one, yes, but they will meet here and there.

“Would it be alright if we worked to set up something more formal?”

“Oh, yes, yes. That would be very good.”

2 for 2

“We have 3 SMART Boards,” he said, “But none of the teachers use them because they do not know how. Could you show them?”

“Your teachers at last week’s workshops rece

ived training on SMART Boards. We could work with them to design workshops where they help their colleagues learn about the boards.”

Again, agreement.

“Is there anything else you can think of?” I asked.

“Would you have time to visit some of our classes and observe the learners and talk with our teachers?”

Jackpot! I miss kids. It’s even worse to be spending all this time in schools, but not get to work directly with kids.

Friday Khosi, Benji and I will be meetin

g with the principal, the seven teachers who attended the workshops and the two members of the ICT committee who weren’t at the workshops. We’ll be forming up a plan for the week ahead.

I love it when a plan comes together.

*LAN Administrator here means a teacher who is in charge of developing a time table for the use of a school’s computer lab along with other duties.

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