Ever tried to keep on top of a school Network without a technician to call on. I am at the moment and every minute I spend creating Active Directory profiles or fixing an uncooperative wireless keyboard, I am appreciating their worth more and more. Even knowing the process for logging a warranty issue on a faulty laptop or restarting the server after a power outage is something that I normally can rely on to be technician's business so that I can focus on the bigger picture of improving learning outcomes for the students.
I was lucky to work with two really talented technicians over the course of 2011. The first is still back at my old site (as well as my own kid's primary school where he has helped agitate for some of the changes I've pushed for as a parent) but of course, I left there for a new opportunity at Woodville Gardens. There I was lucky enough to work with the second who did the leaving this time for an enticing position at another school (in an ironic twist). Between the two of them, I have seen the best traits of this crucial role in Australian schools.
A good technician is someone who says, "Tell me what you want to do, and I'll do my best to make it happen. I'll explain your best options but always allow your knowledge of learning priorities right of way."
A good technician knows how to translate technical jargon and processes into something that most educators can understand. A good technician is flexible and strives to minimise downtime in the classroom. A good techie knows how to self prioritise, to give suggestions and inside knowledge to the coordinator or AP, savvily stretch the finite budget and find the balance between troubleshooting and setting up stuff for the near and longer term future.
Unfortunately, we don't pay school based technicians much and many move on to more lucrative opportunities in private enterprise. In primary school, we ask them to be generalists and know a bit of everything but in contrast to much of the private sector, school technicians enjoy greater autonomy and less pressure from more understanding clients (the teachers!). Although as I juggle my AP responsibilities and the very basics of technical troubleshooting and early year network maintenance, I feel quite pressured!
So, if you're a technician in the Adelaide metro area looking for a challenge at a great school, let me know. I can't hold down this role forever. And you know you will be valued.