Posts for Tag: tosa

back to the classroom

As I hustle to complete my household chores and projects on this last weekend of summer break, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit. That’s what teachers do, right? 

Tuesday is district-wide PD, followed by staff meetings. Wednesday is teacher work day. And, students return on Thursday. Monday is still open, but I’ll be having conversations with some of the site admins. Those conversations will be centered on what I can do to support teachers remotely. 

This year, I have been involuntarily transferred to a middle school to pick up three classes, with the rest of the reserved for tech TOSA work. So, here’s the questions I’m pondering: 

  • How does a TOSA support teachers at other sites while teaching periods 2, 3, & 7 at a middle school? 
  • Should I take that yearbook stipend and tackle that project? 
  • What’s the deadline for Spring semester enrollment into an EdD program? 


I’ve been thinking about strategies this weekend. That’s because, I typically spend a bit of time on Saturday catching up on twitter feeds and blog posts, digesting all the amazing things other TOSAs and Teacher Leaders are sharing. This Saturday, it seemed that many of these posts centered on strategy. 

  • Strategies for teaching with technology. 
  • Strategies for student engagement.
  • Strategies for measuring student learning. 
  • Strategies for tech-averse teachers. 
My takeaway from all these insightful articles and posts: it seems that I’m not the only TOSA who struggles with these concepts. 

In my third year as a TOSA, effective strategies have become even more challenging. I feel like I’m moving forward, but I also believe that my strategies need realignment. 

office space

Yesterday, a colleague asked if I would be in my office later. My reply was simply, “I will.”  

*current “office” view

It got me thinking. As the end of the first trimester comes to a close, I still don’t have an office. This is my third year in the district, and I don’t have a designated desk or cubicle. 

I’m not complaining. At the start of the year, I did have a small cubicle in the Tech Department. Only, a week later it was overrun with hundreds of Chromebooks for the district rollout. Now it houses old desktops and peripherals, like some sad Land of Misfit Toys.

But then I wondered: do I need an office? Does having an office make me a more productive TOSA? Can I be a better TOSA if I had an office? 

Honestly, I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know that having an office might limit my visibility. Meaning, I do enjoy interacting with students and staff...and most of the relationships I’ve built were initiated by simply being present.  

After two years and one trimester of claiming the staff rooms, teacher classrooms, work rooms, and pods of five elementary sites, do I even want an office? 🤔


"I've learned a lot this year." 

Read that sentence again. What does the voice in your head sound like? What is the tone? What words did your internal voice emphasize? 

I've heard this phrase many times in years past. Sometimes that phrase was uttered by students, and sometimes by colleagues. I've heard myself say it on several occasions these last few days of school. Only, I truly did learn a lot this year.  

See, I was fortunate to work some inspiring people. I was lucky in that I was allowed into five different elementary schools and over 60 classrooms. I enjoyed working with 100s of students, in grade levels Kindergarten through Grade 5. And, I learned a lot this year. Every student and every teacher helped me learn something this year. I never felt like the smartest person in the room...
Honestly, I wasn't sure what this year would look like when I took the role of TOSA/Instructional Technology. This role was new in the district for the 2015-2016 school year, and it dovetailed with the roll-out of Google Apps for Education. Administration was extremely supportive, and my fellow TOSAs at the middle schools helped me wrap my brain around this new role and how we could best serve our students and staff. 

One of those TOSAs helped me understand that we are #bettertogether. She convinced me to start using Twitter as a #PLN, and I soon found a host of teachers working with Instructional Technology. The winter CUE workshop at, coupled with #TOSAchat on Twitter, I learned a lot this year. 

[#TOSAchat badge via: @jyoung1219]

The 2015-2016 school year is over. I'm fortunate to be returning in early August for the 2016-2017 school year. Next year, I'll continue to work with many of the same teachers and students. I will continue to refine my approach to Instructional Technology. And, more importantly, I will continue to learn along the way with an rad group of people. 

I'm still learning.