Day 50, Valerie Ruiz

I recently had an optometrist appointment. Dr. Harver is a 60+ year old man with a kind smile. As he completed my eye exam, he was entering my data onto an iPad. He seemed to be struggling so I joked, “Don’t you wish you can just go back to paper and pen.”

He said, “Technology is not going away. We either need to move forward or get left behind.”

For the past week, his words have been on repeat in my mind.  A few years ago, I was excited to hear the iPads were coming to SUHSD, but they never got to me as a 10th grade SPED teacher. I believed that I didn’t have to worry about technology in the classroom, because the iPads were going to stay at the middle schools.  

Even when I became a support teacher, I didn’t think I needed to further my education about technology.  Then, I learned the Lenovo Yogas were coming. A Code Red had to be initiated ASAP! In other words, I had to find a way to quickly get out of my comfort zone. It will soon be a part of my job to support teachers on how to effectively use tablets in their classroom.  

Today, I’m sitting at the Google Apps for Education Summit. I am very much out of my comfort zone and very much feeling anxious. Instead of trying to learn EVERYTHING about Google Education in one day, I am walking into each session hoping to learn one thing to share with my teachers. So far, I have learned simple things like add-ons, but I also learned how to create a self-paced lesson in Google Docs.

I have learned it’s okay to fail. In my 17 years of teaching,  I have failed at a lot of things. I learned that I have to just dust myself off and know this is when real learning will occur.


Valerie Separa Ruiz has been a special education teacher in SUHSD for the past 17 years.  She taught at Montgomery High School then moved to Olympian High School when it opened in 2006. Currently, Mrs. Ruiz is part of the Special Education Academic Support Team at Special Services. Follow her @mrsvruiz on Twitter.


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Dear SUHSD Learns Readers,

We are always looking for more blog contributors. Please consider sharing something you’ve learned in a short written post or a video (like Day 45!). If you work with students, please encourage them to contribute as well- we want to hear from all SUHSD community voices! Anyone interested in contributing to the blog can let us know here.

Thank you!