Recently, I did a hands-on workshop for other teachers on science apps and probes. I thought it went really well, and no one had any questions at the end of the session. But now, I’m getting lots of messages and phone calls for help. My colleague said that I must not have done a good job if there are so many questions. What did I do wrong? —T., Maryland
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. If the teachers have questions now, at least they’re trying to use what you introduced in the workshop. And it’s important they feel comfortable asking for your assistance. As you know from your own classroom, non-judgmental assistance can turn frustration into success.
When you asked for questions, perhaps the attendees were overloaded, ready to go home or back to the classroom. Or they felt comfortable with the apps at the time and thought they knew what they were doing. Now they’re unsure trying them without you and the others for immediate support. Some teachers are hesitant to introduce something new to students unless they are familiar with it themselves. They might need more encouragement, information, and feedback.
During future workshops, provide lots of modeling and practice time, even if you introduce fewer apps. Allow the attendees to make some mistakes and try to figure out a solution. I like to plan a follow-up session, either in person or online, to address teachers’ questions and for them to share their experiences.
Keep a record of the types of questions you’re asked. Use this feedback as you plan the next workshop (and please do so—it’s beneficial for teachers to learn from another teacher who can model the process.)