The Inaccessibility of Making, Tinkering & Coding
Rafranz Davis
246

I appreciate the spirit of your piece because it has been something that has been weighing heavily on my heart lately. As a soon-to-be 5th-year teacher, I feel as if this past year has truly opened my eyes to the realities that teachers live and breathe outside of my school site and/or area. As a first-year district trainer able to finally step outside of the bubble of my school site, I have experienced a heartrendingly honest insight that I am still trying to rationalize and make sense of: despite the push for technology integration, teachers at low SES schools who attend professional development focused on tech. tools, apps, and the like are experiencing a disservice. I’ve come to realize that encouraging teachers who are in situations where it is nearly impossible to access basic supplies, much less high-ticket items such as laptops, tablets, etc. for their classrooms are pretty much being given a Sisyphean task. This plays out in trainings when a participant is extremely bitter, has snide remarks, fails to pay attention, etc. because it is a function of, among other things (personally and professionally), being tasked with learning these new apps, programs, software, etc. that they will have no way of putting into practice when they return to their school sites due to a lack of continuing support, follow-up, and/or funding. I have been fortunate with supporters on DonorsChoose.org and the relationships that I have forged via the Facebook DonorsChoose.org teacher community but I was motivated to be proactive and to make it happen for my students. The teachers that I have been fortunate to meet via training sessions whoa re motivated seem to come from schools where there is a high SES demographic and the teachers from low SES schools, again, have a dwindling amount of motivation that is couched with disappointment, bitterness, and a deep sense of disillusionment. At the end of the day, I still go back to the students and the question that comes up now is: “What are those students experiencing in that teacher’s class who has lost all motivation and is only running on bitterness, anger, and frustration?” The thought of an answer is saddening and terrifying to think of because if I can see it being played out in a training environment where professionalism and decorum is an expectation, then I can only imagine what it is like when those same teachers are in the classroom or in the Media Center and are responsible for numerous students throughout the days, months, and years?

I apologize for the long comment but my heart does truly ache in trying to wrap my mind around the realities for some of the teachers that I have met, my colleagues, who no longer find joy in teaching. When I first read your piece, the thing that immediately popped into my head was a DonorsChoose.org report that I encountered yesterday and spent quite a bit of time analyzing and reflecting upon: https://t.co/WqwcXMoegf . It provides concrete data for your discussion on inaccessibility. Thank you very much for allowing me to respond and go off on a tangent a bit. :)

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