For those of you that don’t know me, I am a bit of a technology virgin. I don’t own a smartphone. My prepaid flip phone, straight out of 2007, gets the job done just fine. I have to pay for texting, so I just don’t text. I’ve never had an iPad until a month ago when our school district so graciously purchased them for all certified staff members. Considering all middle level students will be getting them soon, a slight pressure from above is being thrust upon teachers to utilize them in the classroom.
I sat there at our three hour iPad training feeling like I was thrown into the deep end when I had just begun to learn how to swim. The technology gurus, perched around the outside of the library like snipers, swarmed in to assist dunces like me, and you had better believe I was thrown plenty a life preserver. I think by the end they just put water wings on me and patted me tenderheartedly on the head with a smile, quietly pushing me back toward the shallow end.
Finally, after spending three days at Summer Conference last week, a plethora of teaching workshops that our district offers the week after we get out, I became even more bewildered. I can already picture the first week of school in the fall when I attempt to use my iPad, and my students lovingly laugh at me saying, “Let me help you, Mr. D.” Big Daddy Weave’s hit song “Overwhelmed” has taken on an entire new meaning, and it aint necessarily for the good!
Alright, confession time … so this blog is as much for me as for any one of you. Some of you may be reading it from your smartphone chuckling slightly to yourself as you read along. You might even hop on your iPad afterwards and play around with all the new whiteboards at your fingertips. Me? I just learned how to effectively charge my iPad! Chortle all you want at my technology shortcomings. Philippians 4: 13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
So, I ask you right now, Lord, how do I go about doing this? How do we go about doing this? There can be no I here … attempting to navigate this without You would only lead to my demise. And I am beginning to wonder if any of my colleagues are beginning to share my feelings of inadequacy; therefore, that WE could indeed be a heck of a lot more than just me. If You were to advise us, what would you tell us?
Truth # 1: Don’t worry! 1 Peter 5: 7 states, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Lord, I am tossing you all of my anxiety right now. All those feelings of inadequacy, all those thoughts of pressure to keep up with my colleagues that can hack out a whiteboard lesson in their sleep (with their opposite hand, mind you) … it’s all Yours, Lord! Satan is trying to shatter my self-worth, whispering sweet nothings into my ear, but his words are dead to me now. I am Yours and Yours alone!
Truth # 2: Start small and go big. Let’s be real here. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10 a). We all have different gifts that God has blessed us with. If we think we can swim with Michael Phelps without training first, the only thing that we will see is disappointment. God is whispering to us all to take the basic steps first, maybe writing down a small goal or two that we hope to accomplish. Take the time to do that now, and leave that note somewhere you know you will see it in August.
Truth # 3: Take some time off to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. Even Jesus knew He had to rest when convenient. Before He calmed the storm, he was sleeping in the stern on a cushion (Mark 4: 38). Take the month of June to catch up on sleep! My alarm still goes off early before the rest of my house awakes, but it is a good 45 minutes after what my routine is during the school year. I still get in my quiet time; it’s just a bit later.
Truth # 4: Practice, practice, practice! The Bible says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17). Just as we train ourselves for righteousness by reading scripture, we should likewise begin training ourselves for work in July. Bit by bit, piece by piece, take in what you can and practice that iPad technology. Experiment on new whiteboards. Begin creating new lessons. And think about how your students could use their own iPads to demonstrate mastery.
Truth # 5: Seek wisdom. I may not be a technology wizard, but my buddy Jordan is, not to mention my colleague Kelli, and I am blessed to have them both on my team. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27: 17). I’d be insane not to seek wisdom from these two! Jordan taught me how to be a wiz on Screencastomatic last year. I truly wonder what intricacies can be mastered this year through his assistance. Sharpen yourself through intentional training. Let someone else be your Yoda, and learn the ways of the force. Just don’t pick me as your Yoda–yet.
Alright, I’m already feeling better now. How about you? We’re all in this together, you know. God has blessed my district with new technology. Why start to worry or complain when I should simply praise Him? Mark 10: 27 reminds us that “all things are possible with God” … even with slower learners like me! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty stoked about the horizon ahead. And my God, the God of angel armies, will be by my side the entire way.