Friday, September 19, 2008

Why I'm no ICT Technician, even though that's what it says on the job description....

Okay, so I have a job at a school as an ICT technician. This is great. I love my job dearly and to be honest can think of very few things I'd rather be doing with my time.

Okay, that's not strictly true. I'm not stupid and certainly not without an imagination. So what I really mean is that I can think of very few things I'd rather be doing with my time for a paying job. Obviously if I didn't have to have a paying job or could do something incredibly creative and absorbing I would. But, given the circumstances I find myself in I'm pretty convinced all is very good indeed.

What makes this job as an ICT technician so wonderful is that it isn't really like any sort of ICT technician you'd recognise. You hear ICT technician and expect IBM nerd going around banks of computers and continually tinkering and messing with things. Or maybe you expect someone like the ICT technicians you might see at a secondary school? Nervous, scurrying men drowning in ICT equipment that isn't working or network problems that they're desperately trying to fix whilst a 1000 teenagers try their hardest to find new and interesting ways to talk to their friends on msn/bebo/myspace (insert todays social networking site of choice here) or download porn.

Nope, nothing like that.
My day consists of days like today where I help 3 and 4 year olds hold a mouse and make beautiful works of art with huge splashes of colour and scratchy half figures that they proudly proclaim are mommy and daddy. Or showing 8 year olds how to type, how to change fonts, how to make powerpoints, how to animate stuff.
This is my day. And it is good.

In fact, if I were to stick to my actual hours and no more, I'd have about one day in a week to do everything else that isn't essentially being a Teaching Assistant or ICT teacher.
Obviously this just isn't enough, which is why most lunchtimes I'm working and most nights I end up doing something to do with school.
And I don't really mind.

But occasionally it does annoy. Especially when teachers take what I do as extra for granted.
And lets not not forget that said teachers get paid their salaries with the express understanding that they work full time - and that includes out of school hours and during school holidays. As compared to me who gets paid for the hours I'm contracted for - term time only.

Case in point. Teacher is panicking over doing an action plan for their subject that they get paid extra for leading. Teacher comes to me and wants to know what resources we have for the subject and can I put resources and useful subject specific links onto the school website? I had to expalin that I'd been doing this for ages now and we'd already built up quite a bank of online and network resources, but I couldn't do what they wanted because, frankly there just isn't enough hours in the day. If they were to ask in advance then I could make a start finding and uploading resources as and when teachers needed them but I just didn't have the time to just do it all now.

(as an aside - to give you an idea of what they were after - one subject across 6 years, average of 5 units per year in the subject = 30 pages of weblinks and resources to find, format and upload onto a really crappy council provided website that I've just about got the hang of now - just in time for us to get a new one to learn all over again. At my fastest, doing one page of really good activities and links takes the best part of a morning of solid work. So that would be about 4 weeks working solely on the website to do this for the teacher in question.)

So off they went, unhappy that I'd turned them down. Obviously they were expecting me to jump up and get to it, when what I had to say was that it was all part of the plan and had to fit in with the fifty or so other things that are on the to do list.

But even on days like this, I love what I do.
I just like to moan about it every so often.

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