»4th July 2018
More hot news. I got a new job last September. That's right, this counts as news. I've been thinking about writing about this for a while, but was kind of worried it would be pretty boring to read, and, to be honest, that it would be boring to write. As usual, 'I need to write something for the website' started to be more of a concern so we opened the floodgates to a massive resevoir of crap. Wow, what an intro.
So in my new job is at an IT company that mostly do tech support in schools in Kirklees. I'm 'the teacher guy', I do after-school coding clubs (I get the kids to make games on Scratch) and IT lessons at a few schools (again, mostly playing around on Scratch.) When I'm not doing that I'm being an IT technician and dealing with needy, depressed, manic teachers who can't use computers.
The company where I work had been wanting to offer teaching and after-school clubs for a while but had been unable to hire a full-time teacher because most of them were burnt-out teachers [hang on, that's me] who had climbed to middle management [ah, sorry, carry on] and wanted a way out whilst still getting paid like a deputy head. This wouldn't work for starting off with offering teaching and clubs, i.e. starting from basically nothing, so they needed someone who could also work as an IT technician whilst schools got on-board with the idea of having someone teach IT who actually knows what a computer is. In steps Carl, who is cheap because of having spent seven years in teaching moving from school to school, doing lots of supply, and never staying anywhere long enough to climb up the ladder because the job sucks. Oh, I'd also spent two years working as an IT technician/IT teacher in my last job.Behold the artwork of five-year-olds.
Just to be clear, that job was great, but the head teacher was an absolute nut-case and I was kept on a temporary contract because a small school couldn't really justify spending a teacher salary on a teacher who only teaches part-time and spends the rest of the time
browsing the Internet fixing the computers. (Turns out, once you've fixed the computers, there isn't really much to do as a technician--you elminate the need for your job by being good at it.) So I had nothing in the way of job security and the head teacher was constantly trying to get me to take over full-time teaching of the Year 6 class. So I left.
In case you forgot, I don't ever want to do full-time class teaching again, and I would advise anyone against choosing it as a career. Seriously, it's like being one of those junior officers in the First World War. You get a whistle and a pistol and then it's a case of 'off you go' into machine gun fire and constant shelling. Don't become a class-based teacher. Sure, do your teaching training course and get Qualified Teacher Status. Work in education, by all means. Just don't become a classroom teacher. It's not worth it. Those adverts on TV are lying to you.
It's probably possible to get straight into a non-class-based teaching/education job immediately after completing a teacher training qualification, but it seems unlikely. You'd probably need to be coming into teaching from another profession and so have the whole 'I can has same job for more than year' thing going on on your CV.
To land some non-class-based role, the minimum experience which you could probably get away with is one year of full-time teaching--i.e. enough to get past your induction year--and then maybe another year after that. It took me five years from qualifying although I'd only really decided 'fuck teaching' (or rather, 'fuck being a class teacher') after about three years. Supply teaching filled in the gaps.
I like my new job, I get to play around on computers and do actual teaching, as opposed to
actual teaching which is paperwork. The bosses of the company are nice people, not total psychos. Everyone who works at the company enjoys it. I haven't heard anyone moaning about 'the profession'. I hear lots of moaning about teachers, of course, and I'm often the butt of everyone's jokes--'teachers, eh?'--but all is well.
Note: At this point I'm basically telling you my war stories. If you're young, naïve, and really want to ruin your life teach, then just skip over this; ignore the old man, chase your dreams, be a hero.
So what's the career path here? Well, one of the crap things about education is, like that poor junior officer in the First World War, you've got to start on the front lines where you're likely to get blown up. There's a good reason you hear all those statistics about teachers leaving the profession after three or so years--it's because it sucks. The workload and pressure is insane, and not at all matched by the pay. Seriously, if you can handle being a teacher and can actually manage to be good at the job with all the work you're given, then there's a whole bunch of other jobs you could be doing for a lot more pay, I hear the colonial marines are recruiting. If you're such a workaholic and a glutton for punishment, craving job satisfaction, just work for yourself or something, seriously why are you putting all your energy into this?
Anyway, five or so years doing class teaching and a lot of supply is all you need to know a) you can teach, and that b) class teaching sucks. It will say that you've been doing something for five years on your CV, which looks good and lets you start blagging your way into education-related jobs that aren't teaching. A couple of teachers I know went to work for supply agencies, which in my First World War scenario is maybe like being one of those recruitment guys who tells women to give flowers to guys who don't sign up so everyone knows what a coward they are, you're basically enabling other people's misery.
Next, you sign up to a Cisco tech support course, or a Microsoft one or whatever, whatever it is that you can afford to do full-time or manage to fit in part-time between working supply. The upshot of having to work supply whilst you learn part-time is that it galvinises your view that teaching fucking sucks.
Next, you blag your way into an entry-level IT support role in a school. You explain that yes, you indeed can set up Youtube on the hall laptop and that yes, you know how to put the correct toner into the printer upstairs. You do this for two years at which point you 'have been working in IT for two years' and can really get into the big leagues... Or rather, go work for an actual IT company who know what they are doing.
Wait, wait, wait. ♫ I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes... ♫ Let's rewind to that 'two years as an IT technician' bit. Remember, you're a qualified teacher, so you start teaching IT lessons inbetween sorting out 'it won't let me click when I'm on Word'. Doing this for two years means you are now an 'expert IT teacher' because you a) know what a computer is and b) have a teaching qualification. Congratulations, you've just completed your min-maxed multi-class Teacher/Technician build. Time to start power-levelling, right?
So now as an expert IT teacher who can also do IT tech stuff. You get to just teach IT lessons (most of the kids actually like IT lessons--they're fun). You're 'that cool teacher who does computers with us' just like 'that cool PE teacher who does football with us' who you see on your way in and out of school. You occasionally share a knowing look as you wait at the school office to get signed in. We did it. We beat the system. We aren't full of self-hatred. We don't have to take marking home or go to that patronising inset day led by someone else who left the profession after realising they could just tell other people how to teach.
You see, you don't work for a head teacher anymore, they have no power over you. Sauron's stupid tower is collapsing and exploding and you can throw that ring into the volcano and go off on a boat with the elves. 'Real' teachers look at you with disdain now. 'Oh, so you just do computers now?' I haven't marked a book since starting the new job. 'Real' class teachers like that take their unfinished marking home with them in a suitcase on wheels every night. Self-loathing goes really well with half a bottle of red wine every evening before you go to bed at 9:30, even though you're going to stay up working until 12:00. Since leaving I haven't been threatened with disciplinary procedures in an unplanned meeting/bollocking following a really depressing staff meeting about how Ofsted are going to put the school into Special Measures and how it's all collectively our fault and we need to pull together (it's not my fault, you're undermining my management of the school, and you need to pull yourself together, I've got a school to run (into the ground)).
Yeah, I'll just go and play on computers.
TCP/IP, it's fucking me off. Other protocols doing little more. Definitely got worse. Now making me curse. Removing IPX. Will it ever work? Never!