Poll: Why are you working in the school sector?

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General Chat Thread, Why are you a school tech? in General; I have always been slighlty puzzled as to why some of the very talented members on this site decide to ...
  1. #1

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    Why are you a school tech?

    I have always been slighlty puzzled as to why some of the very talented members on this site decide to work in schools and not seek their fortune in the private/corporate sector. It's not like we are avoiding office politics. So why do you put up with:

    - being under paid given the importance of IT in moden schools
    - cringingly IT iliterate but oppinionated school staff
    - SMT who thinking that some white elephant can take them to the top of the league tables
    - SMT who think they can get a modern IT infrastructuure for a pittance
    - students bent on the destruction of public property
    - teachers who think pupil behaviour is technological problem
    - being forced to shackle future citizens to the Wintel Borg collective


    Ok there is some exageration in the above list but you would have faced some if not all these impedements and yet you still turn up for work year upon year.

    Why?

  2. #2
    steve's Avatar
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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    I don't think the education / private situation is so black and white.

    From my expreience outside of education:
    -There are lots of under paid, under valued staff in companies too.
    -Being IT iliterate and opinionated isn't exclusive to teachers.
    -White elephants are everywhere, the public sector does them bigger than anyone else though.
    -Money for IT is usually one of the first thing to be cut when companies try and make savings.
    -The last company I worked for the vandalism there was on a par with the worst I've seen by students.

    Then there's the work outside of normal hours - no holidays to rebuild servers in industry. On call at weekends.

    So why am I in education?

    I enjoy it, most of the time. I'm lucky I guess, I get nice big budgets, have a good bunch for my support team, a knowledgeable SMT too.

    Even BSF isn't coming to my LA :-) So I have a reasonably secure job. Just waiting for the council equal pay review - any reduction in pay would make me reconsider my position though.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    I have never worked in industry, so I can't compare. Being on call weekends and evenings is not something that would really bother me though, unless my family got annoyed with it.

    I work in a school because it's great experience for a junior tech. But other then that, I love the environment I work in. I love working with all the staff and I even love working with the kids. I get on really well with all of them.

    Industry and organisations other then education is definately something I will look at in the distant future, but there are other things I need to work on in the mean time.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    From my point of view working in education gives me more hands on experience of things. In industry they are likely to have a systems engineer, a network manager, telecoms engineers, web developers, email manager, a number of sys admins, software developers, DB admin, and then techies. In schools we tend to get to "play" with all these technologies, giving a broader experience than if we went in to one particular department in industry.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    My first job, foot in the door, great opportunity to gain experience. If the right out-of-school job came up I'd go for it.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    The wages are not great but..

    Its 5 minutes from the house (Id need to travel 50 miles to get real wages)

    8.30-4.30 no on call stuff

    Its an easy life, controled by the local council and who works in the council?? - they expect things not to work, its what they are used too. So no pressure - it'll be done when its done.

    Virtually my own boss

    It sure beats digging holes in the road ( have been there and done that)

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Quote Originally Posted by EeEk
    Virtually my own boss
    Thats another bit I like. I have a network manager (that isn't his job title, but in effect that is what he does), but rarely see him (I would guess I meet him for about half an hour every two weeks at the moment and a little bit more during the holidays if there is any major work to be done). I can call him if anything goes majorly wrong, but other then that, I work by myself. My network manager spends much more time at the other schools he works for because they don't have any other support apart from himself, which is very understandable.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Quote Originally Posted by ITWombat
    I have always been slighlty puzzled as to why some of the very talented members on this site decide to work in schools and not seek their fortune in the private/corporate sector. It's not like we are avoiding office politics. So why do you put up with:

    - being under paid given the importance of IT in moden schools
    - cringingly IT iliterate but oppinionated school staff
    - SMT who thinking that some white elephant can take them to the top of the league tables
    - SMT who think they can get a modern IT infrastructuure for a pittance
    - students bent on the destruction of public property
    - teachers who think pupil behaviour is technological problem
    - being forced to shackle future citizens to the Wintel Borg collective


    Ok there is some exageration in the above list but you would have faced some if not all these impedements and yet you still turn up for work year upon year.

    Why?
    I prefer industry work to be honest, you deal with "real people" that understand how the world works and have a different attitude to things.
    But work is only 5 mins in the car plus you get to use all the lastest equipment. I still know business that use 98/2000 for thier OS, but most have upgraded to XP.
    Id be even more happy if i went into a company, doing what i was doing now, and on a proper wage. But i suppose, like most of you lot, been my own boss in the technical dept aint so bad. Its an easy life but sometimes i do like a bit more of a challenge and more hands on, ie like cabling.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    To be honest, I just don't think I'd enjoy working in industry. Every day offers me something completely different. I have to overcome challenges that take me to the edge of my abilities and I actually get to learn new things constantly.

    Also, regardless of any slight whining, I am appreciated most of the time and I enjoy working in an environment where I actually make a difference.

    And as other people have said, I am practically my own boss, I get to play with kit that most people will never come across and I don't have to come in at odd times.

    Just seems like a perfect job, just wish pay was slightly higher (not even outrageous amounts).

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    I see theres an 'own boss angle developing.Unfortunately I can't expand the list of poll options or I would add

    I'm master of all I survey until SMT cave in to some whiny teacher

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Why am I a school tech? Hmm. Originally, I'd have said "it's a job with easy hours.".

    Now, with the management change, building expansion, new building/non NGFL controlled "in-house" IT Infrastructure all going ahead or in planning...i'd have to say I'm ENJOYING the job. Not the PCs as such..I can patch and mend with my eyes shut..but the general "keeping all the plates spinning" thing. I do at LEAST an hour a night overtime, just to keep on top of things.

    Plus, the kids are just incredible. So devious, so underhand, so hell bent on winding IT up..yet so personable. It's an ongoing battle of wits, without malice. Then there are the Year 7/8s...one of whom came in and asked "why do you run the excuse of an OS that is XP? Can't you install Linux and use the license money to buy us all laptops?".

    Even the Non-IT kids are great little personalities...all I hear from my doorway is "yer mum, yer nan, yer sister" etc...usually followed by the shout of "can you call SMT? Riot in progress".

    I'm now living within 10 minutes of work, which means in the summer i can nip in and repatch things/play with ideas without distraction. Sure, the money isn't great...but it's more than enough for everything I need.

    I've worked in Council IT before...same thing, but nowhere near as varied or fun on a day to day basis.

  12. #12

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Why am I a school tech? Because the job got advertised for better money than I was previously on and my previous job was deathly boring. I didn't set out in life to be a school tech but the job was/is a step in the right direction and I think I am probably a lot more employable now than I was four years ago.

    Yes, there are frustrations but then that could be said for any job out there.

  13. #13

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    The only issue I might have with working in educational IT long term is the pay. Obviously once I get married (not for a while yet) I'll need to either get an IT job higher up on the pay scale in a school or go straight into industry, where hopefully it'll be easier to get a higher paid job.

    What I said in my last post about not working in industry isn't quite true, i've worked there for a bit, but not in IT. I don't think i'd enjoy working in industral IT as much, but that remains to be seen I guess.

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Well, I haven't voted in the poll as none of the options apply really.

    I'm with Sirbendy, actually - I enjoy the job and find it rewarding. OK, I'm never going to set the world alight when it comes to earnings or progression, but I enjoy making a difference to the children's education. And being appreciated for what I do. Contrary to popular wisdom, not all teachers are whinging PITA who exist solely to annoy the ICT team - I'd say virtually all the teachers and headteachers in my schools appreciate my work and efforts and a large proportion of them go out of their way to convey that appreciation. And to see the look of excitement and wonder on the faces of small primary children when you arrive in their classroom with the latest new thing is priceless.

    I have to admit to having almost ended up on 'the dark side' by doing a primary teaching degree, but part way through I had a bad experience and gave up teaching, but decided to stay in education and go down the technical route. I'm now half way through the first year and am still happy with the decision, but now I'm thinking about ways to progress in this field without having to make the jump to secondary which I really don't fancy the idea of. Waterloo Road is enough to confirm my opinions of what that can be like!

  15. #15

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    Re: Why are you a school tech?

    Interesting question, lots of different answers so far.

    I used to work in Industry; I worked for the Science Research Council for a while, but spent 30+ years working for Global IT company. Since leaving school I have done pretty well every 'techie' job in IT in the last 35 years; I have been a computer operator, programmer, systems analyst, data admin, systems programmer, systems engineer, my last job was as an IT Consultant. I took early retirement in Dec 2002 because I was weary; too much travel (UK, Europe & USA), too much time living out of a suitcase, not enough time with my family. I was well paid (£60k including bonuses) but seldom had time to enjoy the rewards. I took early retirement at 50 to 'get a life' but after 3 months I was bored at home, after 6 months I was heading for depression, fortunately after 9 months I was back at work, this time as a school network manager.

    I love my job; I enjoy going to work each day. True, I get annoyed like everyone else with students breaking kit, teachers wasting my time, but without them I would not have a job. Teachers have a tough enough job anyway and without us it would be even tougher for them and at times we need to remember that; we are there to help them & the kids.

    Would I go back to Industry? Not a chance; there again, I am probably too old now anyway at 55



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