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We often face similar difficulties as we deal with schools and individuals around the cluster. What situations have you found difficult and have you come up with some ideas on how to tackle them? If you see a situation posted by someone else that you have a possible solution to, please add your ideas in.

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You find that you are having to 'chase' schools to get your time booked in during the term.
Stick and carrot - reward early schools (perhaps with xtra time) and late schools lose allocation.
Advertise free days by email or in a cluster newsletter.
Meet with ICT team at end of previous term
to identify dates and direction.
Go back to the core of ICTPD: it's contractual, it's professional, the school joined voluntarily, and those who choose not to participate are disenfranchising their students. Revisit the expectations. Place the authority for communicating priority where it belongs: with the principals and lead teams.
You go to run a workshop and nothing works because the Flash plugins needed are all out of date on the school computers and then filters at the school don't allow downloading to update them (happened to me today!)
Don't just rely on the fact that it worked on your computer that has all the whiz bangs. Ask the Lead Teacher at the school to take responsibility for trying out everything beforehand on their computer and at least one or two others. Do this more than a week before the event. Detail your requirements: for some schools you may need to be very specific in what you want them to check for, and even how to check.
Ask all schools to ensure that their internet plugins are up-to-date. (schedule a meeting for this perhaps?)
Challenges also arise with different versions of software. Make sure schools have updated, or else that you query which version they are using.
Pull all your hair out.


... then paste it on somewhere else and go out to entertain the world! Someone else's smile will make your whole day!

Always go with a back up plan. "Right, we can't do the planned activity, but I have some cool freeware you might be interested in..."
Schools 'forget' dates and don't have relievers booked when you arrive.
Ask staff in schools to complete a booking form before the day. Here is an example of an online booking form .
Set up reminders using your calendar program and have dates advertised in a publication like a cluster newsletter.
Have ‘touch base’ meetings with lead teachers of schools before booked days. Schools may just miss out (tough love approach)
Utilise the day differently. Ask the Lead Teacher for direction to rooms where you can see excellence, or rooms where someone might just need a bit of help.
Teachers and schools do not inform you in advance exactly what they want on the day.
Put in place some kind of advance booking system (like Zoho creator online forms)
‘Tough love’ - schools that haven’t informed in time (4 days before for us), miss out on sessions.
Set up automatic reminder emails from your calendar programme for people to fill in bookings sheet/ let you know.

Session times in schools feel rushed and seem disconnected from classroom realities.
Suggest schools have less coverage of staff in a term with more time given to the staff who you do work with.
Ask staff in schools to complete a booking form before the day so that time isn’t spent on figuring out ‘what’ to do in session.
ICT leaders within the school need to help mentor staff to develop goals and help them know what they want from sessions.
Attend planning sessions with syndicates in schools where possible so ideas come from context.
Lack of follow-up or committment from teachers in-between sessions.
Ensure that all schools have in place some kind of monitoring and ‘positive pressure’ - it can’t all come from you.
Follow up any release sessions with some in-class support to help facilitate implementation.
Have some kind of sharing space (wikis, meetings etc) where staff know they will need to present to others on what they have done (year grp meetings for us).

Teachers sign up for internet based tools and have then lost the password the next time you see them.
If teachers say they will remember a password when they sign up, insist on still having them write them down while you watch.
Don’t use passwords where possible on sites. Teachers find this very off-putting!
You can keep a copy of some yourself, perhaps on a private wiki (though we shouldn't have to do this!)

Teachers are not really motivated or interested and this is obvious when working with them.
Take some time to talk about them and what they’ve been up to recently to try and ‘warm them up’.
Relationship, it's all about establishing a relationship. Empathy! Understanding! Caring!
Remember, some of the disinterest may be disguising fear.
Use a hook to get them interested such as a couple of really good websites or use their own experiences as a starting point eg using digital photos. Link the work you are doing with them to the topics they're working on with their class - request term overviews from all teachers each term.
At the end of the day, you can only do so much. Some people are never going to be that inspired and at times that is beyond your control.

But a passionate facilitator who can discuss their class programme with them sure helps. Very few people respond negatively to a smile, an engaging look in the eye, and encouragement to respond.






Tess-I have found some resources in PLOT very useful, one of them being "Strategies when dealing with difficult conversations"
I have adapted these ideas in this useful document.
When dealing with difficult teachers and principals it is vital to think through "what is important enough to pursue and what is better left unsaid". I have previously used the following Powerpoint presentation with facilitators to help work through some of these issues.
This following document outlines some useful strategies when asking critical and analytical questions to help improve teacher practice. Very objective and useful fertile questions.