Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Ways to be Especially Helpful

It’s a new school year and everyone is feeling excited, anxious, pressured, and nervous.  Teachers are feeling the strain of getting their lesson plans in order, curriculum materials organized, online content together, and classroom managed.  One thing that would really help alleviate stress would be if their tools were working as expected.  Specifically, in this case, their technology tools.  If you are in a position to help out your fellow teachers and administrators keep these 5 strategies in mind to help the process go smoothly.   

Patience-This skill is critical in helping out a lot of people!  We work within certain constraints that we don’t always have control over.  Being patient while everyone starts to get on the same page can really make the difference between a situation escalating or getting resolved.  For example, in Google, changes can take up to 24 hours.  There is really nothing that can be done about this.  

Listening- Sometimes people just want to be heard when issues cannot be resolved quickly.  Restating what you have heard and reassuring them that you understand their frustration paves the way for better communication and resolution.  

Picking what to pick apart- Sometimes the little things do work themselves out.  Take a step back and consider all the possibilities for the problem.  It could be something as simple as a misspelling or a miscommunication.  Instead of jumping in to fix something wholeheartedly, just consider if it will work itself out.  More often than not, the little issues do disappear.

Smile- It sounds simplistic, but a simple smile can smooth out the edges of a tough encounter.  Nothing says, “Everything is ok”,  more than a friendly smile.  Body language is critical so don’t forget to monitor yours.  

Follow-Through Following up with people sends the message that you didn’t forget about their situation and that you are still thinking of them.  Whether you send an email, a DM on Twitter or a friendly text message, you just need to remember to follow through and follow up.  If a resolution hasn’t been achieved, try a different avenue; with patience, of course.  Don’t leave unresolved problems unresolved.  This is where you have to dig deep and be persistent.  

I recently got involved in a situation that provided lots of good laughs over email.  See the sequence below.  This helped us see the humor in a frustrating situation.  In the end, the teacher found a reasonable solution.  

Teacher D:
Hey Jenny,
> I have a google site that I use for my AP class.
> When I make a change on the page, then click on the "Save" button, nothing happens.
> Any suggestions?
> Thanks!
> Teacher D

Try theses things- make sure your browser is completely updated or try a different browser. That usually does the trick!

Teacher D:
Hello again.
I tried your suggestions.
Firefox would let me log in to Google, but would not let me get to the Sites page.

Have you tried Chrome or Safari?

Teacher D:
I can try the rocket hole punch trick too.

Yes try that too!  Then stand on your head and throw salt. Hehe

Teacher D:
I tried the hole punch thing.
Didn't work...
Will water softener salt work? =)

Only if you hold your nose!

Teacher D:
OK, I tried holding my nose...
no luck on the water softener salt.
But, apparently sea salt works great!

Actually, I did try it again at school, but the page still would not change.
I did the same thing at home and it worked great!
(I mean the webpage update, not holding my nose).

Great!  That is what I was suspecting.  So more work at home until our filter gets straightened out.

Reassure your people, smile, find some humor, be patient and kind.  

Quotes from

Written by:  Jenny Krzystowczyk

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