Baptism by Fire

Susan Collins Current Affairs, Web/Tech

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What about my kids that need meals?

What about the kids who need safety?

What about the kids who don’t have internet access or devices?

How do I take care of my family AND teach from home?

I’ve never used Google Classroom/Schoology/Edmodo. How do I even get started?

What’s the best way to design a lesson, load content, grade?

How do I get trained on this?

I’m sure most of you reading this have either asked these questions, heard someone else ask them, or had them asked of you. We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis in our country and schools are in the thick of it!

We may not be on the very front lines like those working in direct patient care, but we are a close second line. We are facing a country in crisis. Children and families depend on schools for so much more than academic instruction. We are a food source. We are emotional support. We are stability.



The Innovation Adoption Curve (pictured above) shows the usual progression of integrating technology. This model could apply to any industry, but I’m looking at it from the viewpoint of an educator. Most people fall into the Early or Late Majority category. Those who like to watch while someone else learns and tests the new tools will then adapt them with appropriate training and support once all of the “bugs” have gotten fixed. The Innovators and Early Adopters are the people who introduce or jump on a new idea, test it and figure out how to use it effectively then train others.

While we are going to extreme measures to FLATTEN the infection curve of the COVID-19 virus, educators are SPIKING the curve on technology and innovation adoption. We are learning new tools and trying them with our students without enough training, support, or time to process. The education innovation curve looks more like this:


To those who are feeling overwhelmed. That’s normal. What we are doing is monumentally hard. It’s going to be messy. Parts of it are going to fail. You are going to feel VERY uncomfortable with what you are doing.

THAT IS OK!!! Keep putting your students first. I have to remind myself daily that my students NEED school right now, in whatever form that can get it. They need:

  • newsletters
  • videos
  • phone calls
  • video conferences
  • to know that we are disappointed too
  • to know that their health and safety is super important to us

What we are providing to students and parents is the best we can do right now to give something that looks and feels “normal.”

When will we “go back” to normal?

NEVER, not the way it looked before this global pandemic.

In a couple of months, we will begin to figure out what our “new normal” will look like.

It will be different.

I hope it will be better.

Until then, give yourself, your family, and your students lots of grace and lots of love.

What are some silver linings you are seeing in this “baptism by fire” that we are going through?

What are some changes you will make in the use of technology when we start defining that “new normal”?

I look forward to hearing the GREAT things that are happening in your classrooms!



photo credits:





Susan Collins began her teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. She served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. She stepped out of working full-time in the classroom for 9 years when her children were very young but never left teaching. She set up an early childhood music studio and taught music from birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). Susan moved to Kingman in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where she teaches k-5 general music. Susan achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016, just after moving to Arizona. She has served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. She is passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education. When she is not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, she is outdoors hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. She can often be found off the grid pondering her next writing piece!

Comments 5

  1. Dr. Austine Etcheverry

    I am the principal of a school and that is my constant message to teachers. Give yourself an opportunity to grieve to. Give yourself time to learn something new and give yourself time to provide support to yourself and your family.

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  2. Jess Ledbetter

    I was actually just thinking today that much good can come from the infusion of technology into teacher practice. Sure, we will make mistakes at a time when mistakes are acceptable–but will more educators utilize valuable tools going forward? Will more teachers embrace flipped classroom or have students publish their writing online? Will people be more connected through apps like MarcoPolo (which my team is even using for lesson planning ideas?) These questions are yet to be answered and we have much toiling along the way. But I think some iron can come out of this fire and I look forward to seeing that future. Great blog!

    1. Susan Collins

      Thank you, Jess. I am looking in that direction for my next posting. There can be so much positive change that can come from this crisis. I am hoping for a positive change!

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