Do You Have the Right Job?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 3 comments »

I've been thinking a lot lately about my current job. I'm a K-6 library media specialist at an urban (sort of) school in metro Milwaukee. I spend about half of my job with technology (which I love) and the other half with the library part of the job (which I like, but don't love). Our school has about 75% of our kids on free and reduced lunch. I do not have a problem with that at all - we have a bunch of great kids, but the technology in their homes is lacking which causes some problems when their only access to a computer is at school. In the past, I have written about my job and the fact that I like the people I work with. The physical space of my library is one of the best in the district.

I have great support from my building principal and our district has put a premium on our department. The district has put an emphasis on keeping a full time certified media specialist in all but our two smallest elementary schools. Our department has been involved in technology staff development, which for me, has been a lot of fun. We also work on fixed schedule which is sometimes good, but I'd take a flexible schedule in a heartbeat. While I miss the classroom after teaching third grade for eight years, I do like working with all of the students, even though seeing some for six or seven years is going to be six or seven years too long!

I've jumped into Twitter over the last month or so and have realized that there is a job out there that I'd really like to have - Technology Integration Specialist. A lot of people around the country have this job and it seems that it is their job to help teachers and students integrate technology into learning. This is what I'm doing as part of my job, but I'd like to be doing it all the time. I would be more than happy giving up the library part of my job. I like putting books in the hands of kids and I think I'm doing okay with the library part, but it's not my specialty. I want to be working and teaching with technology all the time! There is so much I'd like to do with teachers and technology, but for a variety of reasons, it's difficult where I am. The only problem is that the position of Technology Integration Specialist does not exist in my district.

I also wonder if I want to continue working with elementary students. It's the only world I've lived in, but sometimes I get tired of helping little ones log in because they don't know their alphabet. Watching third graders hunt and peck for letter because they don't know the keyboard is frustrating. Would these problems exist if I was working with older students? Of course not, but there would probably be other problems - like kids knowing more than me (but that might be great).

I've looked at local job openings around the area, but there aren't any T.I.S. positions. There are other elementary librarian jobs available, in better off communities where students most likely have experience with technology which would lead to me possibly doing cooler projects, but who knows? Does it pay to leave where I am if it's not the "dream job" I'm looking for? There's no way any other district would have better benefits than my current district. I've thought of going back to school to get my Director of Technology certification, but fear that a position like that would remove me from working with kids and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like that.

I signed my contract to come back next year.
Who knows what I'll do down the road.
I'm not 100% happy with my current position.
I like it, but don't love it.

Thanks for giving me some of your time.


  1. Nadine N // April 23, 2008 at 9:40 AM  

    The grass is not always greener on the other side. Here's my story: Previous to this year, I was a computer teacher/technology coordinator for a parochial school. I worked with students all day long, team-taught lessons, activities, and units with 2-8 classroom teachers, made a huge difference in the technology program because I helped the teachers and the students grow and embrace technology.

    This year is my first year as a TIS for a public district. I sit in an office, never work with students, provide afterschool workshops to teachers who mock me in the back of the room, try to reach out to teachers about new ideas - but am met with lukewarm responses. I walk past the middle school computer lab several times a day and watch kids play games. I created a wiki with high quality resources for lesson plans and units and had a workshop to go through it and show the teachers how to utilize the web to enhance the curriculum. No one uses it. I am an expert on web2.0 and have done workshops for teachers and principals in the past. No one in my new district is interested. I could describe what I do on a day to day basis, but it would bore you to death. You, my friend, have a great job. You are a teacher. You work with kids. That beats working with grownups any day! My advice is to get certified for administration. Technology should be such a natural part of the teaching and learning process. Administrators who understand and embrace that concept would be important.

  2. Pissed Off // April 27, 2008 at 11:22 AM  

    I certainly don't like lots of things about where I work but I'm not changing schools. I happen to know that things are no better anywhere else in the city of NY. There are worse principals and APs than the one I have to deal with. My school is in a good neighborhood, parking is easy and it is a close commute.

    Be careful before you get yourself into something bad.

  3. mindelei // May 4, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

    In regards to the students not having access to a computer at sounds like a great opportunity for writing a grant. I'm thinking laptops or even those eee computers that everyone has been raving about. There's definitely a need there - what a great opportunity to try to fulfill it.

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