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Technology in the Classroom: One Tech Teacher’s Day

Jacqui Murray

 

Summer is my favorite season. I sit at home reading, researching, and chatting with friends. I make my own schedule, starting and finishing a project without interruptions. That is a massive high to me.

Why? Well, from the moment I set foot on campus, life spirals out of my control. I’m a tech teacher, which is like a “geek plus.” I teach, but I’m also the first line of defense—sometimes, offense—for colleagues, as they struggle using technology in the classroom.

I generally arrive around 6:45 a.m., and not long after, a student will show up needing to use the lab. After a pleasant greeting and a friendly smile, I’ll help them with whatever they need, all the while going back and forth between assistance and working on lesson plans.

The clock strikes 7 a.m.—the day has only just begun.

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Two minutes later, a teacher calls, her voice echoing worried fear—her computer won’t boot up. After coming in to work early, hoping to get a head start on her day, her plans are shot now due to a failure of technology in the classroom. What is she to do?

Jacqui Murray to the rescue.

As it turns out, the cleaning staff had unplugged her computer the previous evening for who knows what reason. No worries, though—plug it back in, she’s up and running. Crisis averted.

Upon returning to my computer lab around 10 minutes later, a student is patiently waiting for me—well, as patiently as a small child can wait. Actually, he’s jumping from one foot to the other. All the while, his mother is standing next to him.

“My home printer ran out of ink! Can I use yours?” he asks. His mother smiles thankfully as I happily oblige, then engaging her in conversation. Fifteen minutes pass, and the pair leave satisfied. Another happy customer, I think.

Back to lesson plans until 7:30 a.m. yard duty—which is managing the arriving students for classes until their teachers are ready to receive them. After I return about half an hour later, I work on finishing up my lesson plan for the day’s first class at 8:15 a.m.

That is, until, I receive a phone call at 8:02. Internet access is seemingly unavailable for an entire classroom full of students, the phoning teacher frantic. I agree to help, and address the origin of the issue—the students simply aren’t logged in correctly. No problem, I’ll go around to each computer, ensuring the students are using the correct login.

Back in time for class: 8:15 a.m. I can’t help but smile as I see the sea of students filing through the door, their faces brimming with excitement. Everyone loves computer lab time.

Lessons are well underway when another teacher drops in. “Sorry for the interruption,” she says, face red and stressed, “But I’ve got a small problem with my computer …”

“I’ve got a break at 9, I’ll come right over,” I tell her with a smile.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m in her classroom addressing the third tech problem of the day: she can’t find her slideshow. “It’s just disappeared,” she says. No problem—after trying a few search solutions, it turns up.

For the next three hours, I’m booked with classes until lunchtime. I ignore all forms of communication, focusing solely on the work. Around noon, students will generally come in to use the computers, but luckily, I have a small fridge in my room so I don’t have to leave. They work while I eat and hide behind my monitor (I don’t like people watching me eat).

At 1:15 p.m., I have two back-to-back classes: One at a lower school, and one with middle school students. I sometimes struggle to juggle the age difference, accidentally calling middle school students “2nd graders” and vice versa (which always gives them a laugh). Sometimes it’s easy and I don’t have to intervene or lecture much because they’re working on projects.

I spend some time responding to parent e-mails afterward, right before they arrive to pick up their kids and chat about classes, quizzes, and projects, around 3 p.m. Kids will come in after school for extra help, or to simply use the computers. During this time, I usually work on the school’s various technology issues until 4 p.m., and then leave—or, work late. Depends on what needs to be done!

And that’s my day. So, what haven’t I done yet? Well, here’s a list. I haven’t yet:

  • Graded projects.
  • Prepared future lesson plans.
  • Helped teachers integrate technology into their class projects.
  • Planned and organize in-house PD on technology.
  • Worked on my class website and blog.
  • Mentored new teachers on technology.
  • Communicated with my PLN.

I know, this sounds crazy. But there is never a boring moment, that’s for sure. What’s your day like? Do you get a break every two hours, or every eight?

I’ve collected a list of what a lot of my tech teacher peers do with their days. Read it—you won’t believe it! A few other articles you might enjoy on “Day in the life”: A walk through Brittney Sanderson’s classroom, Princeton Review's take on a teacher's day, and Parenting's look at the day of an inner city school teacher.

More on the unique world of being a tech teacher:

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of dozens of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB.