Lisa’s blog post written as a response to my tag from a meme made me remember this. One time a teacher I worked with chastised me and told me I was an “enabler.” When I looked at her quizzically, she said, “You enable me to be computer illiterate.” I had come to her room to help her with some kind of problem she was having, and instead of showing her how to fix it herself, I just fixed it.
She assured me she was teasing me, but as I left, I realized she was probably right. At that time I was in an elementary setting in the library, and I had a tight schedule of classes, but was on a quest to help teachers effectively use technology. Many made great strides, but I always tried to find a way to help when a need came. My thinking was that if they needed help using their technology, than I should rush to assist when needed else they might abandon it, and go back to the old way of teaching. I really thought I was doing a good thing, until that day.
Goal: Change that title–Enabler
Since then, I have changed jobs, and now work in a library in a middle school setting. I always try to help teachers now help themselves. I point them to tutorials, or make screenshot tutorials for them to help themselves. Just this week I had a teacher thank me profusely for the directions for a mailmerge so she could make letters telling kids how much more was owed for a field trip. She said it was so nice to be able to do this without any struggles, and she’d keep the directions for ever. I just smiled and told her in no time she’d abe able to do this w/out needing the trusty directions.
Another teacher couldn’t get his printer to work. I remarkably walked him through checking the print que, clearing out jobs, and finally getting his printer back into working order—all from the phone.
So far, so good
So I can say that I am keeping my promise, and instead of enabling teachers to be technology illiterate, empowering them to make the tools work for them–independently. W00T!!
So, is anyone else guilty of being an enabler?