Friday, January 22, 2016

The Kind Of Teacher You Want

Interestingly, he wasn't even hired as a teacher.  He's the newish IT guy for our school district.  His predecessor left big shoes to fill, but Jack hit the ground running.  He's maybe 35, a compact dynamo of a man who gave up wearing dress shoes to work early on in his time with us and now wears sneakers every day, the better to facilitate his high-speed movement around the school buildings.  Everyone likes him and he's really great with all the varying technology stuff his job requires him to coordinate.  

In the packet for our last Board of Ed meeting, there was an odd agenda item: the administration wanted us to approve Jack to work directly with students.  Turns out that in addition to all his IT qualifications, Jack actually holds a teaching certificate, but since he wasn't hired to work with kids here the BOE needed to formally permit him to do so.  Since the recommendation was coming through my committee, I asked why the IT guy needed clearance to work with students, and was told that he wanted to establish a tech-related group for the Friday afternoon period in which the middle school kids can choose their activity.  He also needed the clearance to host lunch bunches, which is the term the school uses for when teachers permit kids who are having difficulty in the cafeteria for whatever reason to have lunch with a few friends in their classrooms instead.  

My BOE committee met this morning, and Jack was there to discuss the technology plan.  As he was leaving, I asked how his work with students was going.  He commented that most of the kids who are into technology aren't the social or popular kids, and that having a group of them congregating and learning together is working really well for their confidence.  The part that really choked me up was when he went on to mention that he'd tagged up with the Child Study Team (the group who coordinates IEPs for classified students, i.e. Thing Two and his peers) and was soliciting their recommendations for kids who would be a good fit for his group since he wanted to be inclusive.  

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