What We Tell Them…….And What We Don’t

It has been a frustrating month — challenging, finding myself on the defense much more than offense, and much much harder than usual.

And — I think in many ways — I am to blame.   Because I have emphasized the good, the easy, the ideas, yet I neglected to mention the bad, the hard, and the roadblocks.

And I don’t believe I am the only one that is doing this.  Without a doubt I know we need to be encouragers, cheerleaders, and optimistic.  But to our audiences, don’t we also need to be realistic??

We Tell Them………
Skype is a grand tool for collaboration and you will be able to connect with teachers all around the world so easily.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
Sometimes the microphone you buy won’t want to work with your computer and often when you hook up with another class, the bandwidth will be terrible and the connection might drop.

We Tell Them………
Join this network and thousands of people will be ready to answer your question within minutes.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
The network has over thousands of people, so to get noticed, you are going to have to post your question more than one time, and you might never get an answer.

We Tell Them………
A projector will change how you teach in the classroom.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
To mount the projector, to put in the electricity, to purchase the cables will cost about another $1000 plus replacement bulbs can run up to $200.

We Tell Them………
Here is a blog post I think you should read.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
Personally, I did not have time to read it, but I skimmed it.  But by sharing it with you, it makes me look good.

We Tell Them………
Here is a book I think you add to your library, etc

What We Don’t Tell Them……
I really did like the book, but I also like that I get a paid if you decide to buy the book too.  And that does have an impact on why I am promoting this book.

We Tell Them………
This web-based option is wonderful, it is free, and it is user-friendly.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
You might need to jump through hoops to get your IT to open this option AND it might be free now; but chances are, if it is a good tool, within months, it will begin to cost or “google” might buy it.

We Tell Them………
It took me no time at all to learn how to use this ……………….. (fill in the blank)

What We Don’t Tell Them……
If I really added up my time, it took me about 6 months to really figure this out and to fine-tune it down to “no time at all.”

We Tell Them………
You need to be blogging.  Your students need to be blogging.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
Blogging is hard, transparency is hard, allowing comments is hard, and deciding where to blog and what template and how to “decorate” your sidebar is a whole ‘nother ball game.

We Tell Them………
You need to be a 21st century teacher.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
You don’t have to give up everything from your past.   You were a good teacher in the 20th century — you will be a good teacher in the 21st.  Blend the old with the new and explore new opportunities whenever you can.

We Tell Them………
You can do this.

What We Don’t Tell Them……
You have to rethink, relearn daily.  You are going to have problems that you are going to have to have a plan b, plan c, plan d, and even a plan z to overcome them at times.  You are doing to meet some incredible SUPERB people online and you are going to meet some jerks.   You are going to run into nay-sayers, and network nazi’s, and bandwidth-bandits — you are going to lose some wars, you are going to win some.   This is not going to be easy, and at times you will want to just walk away.  But, if you persevere, when you look back — you will see it was all worth it.

Because you can do this.

And I need to remember, I can do this too.


  1. Nancy says:


    Eloquently stated. Thank you for having the courage to take off the ‘rose colored glasses’.

    In marketing, it’s the positives that help sell a product and we as educators have climbed on that bandwagon. I think it would be WONDERFUL to have a session at the next tech conference (guess it’s too late for ISTE11) titled ‘The REAL Nuts & Bolts Behind the Tools’. I think that if we share out our failures and how we overcame them (or didn’t) more participants might be willing to take a chance, knowing that it’s not really their lack of any knowledge, but that we all face obstacles – whether it’s the IT department, faulty hardware, down websites, etc. (For me personally, it’s the inability to wrap my head around the concept of layers in Photoshop; oh, and those ISO settings on my camera). Think about what that session could be like. The audience actually helping the presenter out with additional information for overcoming those hurdles, dialogues would abound, connections made for the future, the possibilities are endless!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Nancy..
      maybe that discussion could take place at “The Blogger’s Cafe” or “PLN Plaza” or “Newbie Network” —
      because I think it would be a grand conversation to have.
      Thanks for dropping by —

      and YES, I love my fall header too.
      However, in a week — grins, I get to go CHRISTMAS here.

  2. Nancy says:

    Oh, and your header on this blog is absolutely gorgeous. It’s funny how it reminds me of fall foliage. ;()

  3. Anne Truger says:


    You always read my mind….this is exactly how I feel right now. I am suddenly a “lab” teacher in a building where no one believes that tech can make a difference so I am forced into the cheerleader position, and yet there are many downsides too. I needed to remember “You are going to run into nay-sayers, and network nazi’s, and bandwidth-bandits — you are going to lose some wars, you are going to win some. This is not going to be easy, and at times you will want to just walk away. But, if you persevere, when you look back — you will see it was all worth it.” I have to keep my chin up and not give up, no matter how negative my experience. It will be worth it in the end.
    ALmost daily now I feel like walking away, but I know that I am fighting for what is best for my students and if I walk away there will be no one fighting to improve their learning experiences…but it’s so dang hard lately. Thanks for always sharing your heart!Miss you my friend….


    • Jennifer says:

      I miss you.
      And want to thank you for reminding me that “we are not alone.” — because some times, I still feel so isolated on my campus, in my little “jen world”.
      Hugs to you
      February will be here soon.

  4. This is great — a great reminder that technology may open some amazing doors, but there are also plenty of hurdles there, too. Adaptability is key, as is patience.

  5. Ginger Lewman (GingerTPLC) says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’m proud to say that I can only agree with one of them (the Skype one). The rest are either not true for me (reading the blog post or getting paid for the book), or I tell them about the tough, not-so-pretty side. And then I offer to help them troubleshoot and work through those issues that will come up.

    Very energizing post, thank you!

  6. Chad Lehman says:

    We need to make sure we give both sides of the story when we are introducing this stuff. Great post, I’ll be sharing it.

  7. Jen,

    Being realistic certainly helps us as a whole because it makes us look less like “magicians’ and more like realists.

    And teachers generally are “realists” I think.

    However, I do think, sometimes it does just take five minutes 😉 to use a few tools 😉 and sometimes things do stay free 😉

    So maybe being a cheerleader/realist is a compromise position 😉

    But perhaps we do set people up when we make it sound like there’s no frustrations at all involved in technology integration. Perhaps we should help them look at them as challenges?

    Changing any sort of teaching paradigm takes work–maybe not with aggravating machinery, but mental work, planning work, meeting and getting approval from curriculum teams work. Funny why that sort of work and frustration seems more invisible than technology frustration sometimes?

    Maybe because there’s no “curriculum” specialist in the building required to go “fix” the problem?

  8. James Kosako says:


    Thank you for sharing. Right now I am in a position where I want to give up also. It is not because of the students or the teachers, but because of administration. I think right now the cheerleaders are tired and we need to encourage one another.

    Be brave! Hold on! Remember that we are not finished yet! We serve a higher calling. Jesus Christ, who helps us through thick and thin. Blessings to you my sister. I will keep on praying for you.

    Stay strong!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *