I came from the relative security and certainty of teaching English onto the thin ice of an optional subject area. Now it's an optional subject area that I think is vital to student success in the 21st Century, but it's optional none-the-less.
Why did I spend north of four grand to get qualified in computer technology? Because it has been a part of my life for so long and I wanted to acknowledge that by teaching it. By recognizing my industry experience I feel like getting qualified in computer technology has honoured the work I did before I was a teacher. It also opens up the door to students gaining real world technology experience before becoming swamped in it. I'm passionate about teaching technology expertise to both staff and students.
Teaching a subject like this is perilous. You've spent a lot of money and time to get the qualification and then you suddenly find the ground has shifted and you aren't teaching it. This happened to me before with visual art. I took the AQ hoping to teach it and suddenly the door closed and someone is transferred in. That might have been a one off, but it happened again with computers, so I'm twice bitten twice shy.
Today I staggered out of a heads' meeting that offered three future headship structures, my job as computer head didn't exist in any of them. I attempted to argue my case, and a number of heads kindly spoke for me, but when administration presents your choices and what you do isn't on any of them, you have to wonder if what you're doing is considered valuable, or even helpful.
There was a lot of talk about what the future holds for our school and how our headship structure should support that future. Apparently computers and a supportive technology environment don't have a place in our school's future. That is only slightly less exhausting than the idea that what I've been doing in the school has hurt rather than helped. It was suggested that everyone should wait months for support, even in cases where I could get things going in moments. This is the future we're aiming for because we don't want a headship centred around computers?
Technology use isn't decreasing in our school, and how we're making use of technology isn't nearly as monolithic as it once was; the variety of tech in our school has exploded. Ten years ago we had a single kind of printer in our building, now we have more than thirty different kinds. Ten years ago the board used to take care of things like network cables and lab setup, not any more. In a proliferate, increasingly complex and less centrally supported technology environment, we balk at localized support?
The role of computer support in our school is onerous, but one of the things it does for me (sometimes, when I'm not getting bumped for a colleague from another school), is to ensure that I'll be teaching at least some computer technology classes. Seeing the work I've done as a head given no future has left me wondering if I've asked my family to spend thousands of dollars on qualifications that I won't be able to exercise in the future. That is frustrating on a lot of levels.
There are a lot of ups and downs in teaching. The political ground on which you stand is often not what it appears to be, and while many people seem to act out of a sense of certainty, what we are asked to teach is actually very perilous and subject to the whims of others.
It's a cold Monday night in February and I'm finding the extra energy I've thrown into my profession over the past several years to be in question. It's not the kind of place you do your best work from.