When I started teaching, I found it surprisingly difficult to use technology in my lessons, and I was the tech guy. I found this situation stressful because:-
- The tech was unreliable and didn’t work as planned
- I wasn’t that good at using the tech as a learning tool
I developed imposter syndrome as a result of these stressors. Imposter syndrome is loosely described as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. In your mind you start thinking, people are going to find out that I don’t REALLY know what I am talking about. It is common in schools and it affects teachers and leaders too!
It seems that everyone that comes to use technology in teaching has challenges, even the tech guys! The feeling of stress in this situation has a name. It’s called Technostress. Technostress is one of the leading barriers for teachers when implementing technology into their classrooms.
Below are five tips to help reduce technostress.
1- Choice – Get control
Learn what tech you need to use in your day and what you don’t. It’s ok to say no to using technology you don’t need to use, especially if it doesn’t make a difference. You can have a choice.
2- Boundaries – Get your time back
It’s harmful to health when you stay continuously connected to technology. Set boundaries while at school and home. Plan to disconnect and give your brain a break.
3- Focus – More productive
Research has identified that multitasking is not as productive as we once thought, so focus on what works for you and try not to introduce new technologies that can be a distraction.
4- Reflection – Growing confidence
Plan time to reflect on your progress. Introduce small manageable changes, then reflect on what worked well and what could be changed.
5- Balance – Moving forward
Find a healthy balance between moving forward and the stress that implementing new technology can bring. Slowly build on your successes by learning more and slowly integrate your new skills and knowledge.
When teachers get control over their technology, they have more time, fewer tech distractions and the confidence and capacity to move forward. Following these tips, teachers can run alongside technology and not feel like they have to detract from it drastically. Technology has great potential for improving student learning, so teachers should be in the driver’s seat.
Our teacher-focused IT support approach helps teachers manage their technostress. I found that if I focused on assisting teachers more while they were in the classroom instead of from behind a desk, which is the traditional reactive style of IT support, I was able to reduce their technostress by giving back control over their technology, feeling like they have more time and can be more focused, improving their confidence and their capacity to move forward.