Why I Love My Job

In these first few months since leaving the classroom and becoming a full time Technology Staff Developer, the most often question I get asked is "Do you miss the classroom?" My stock response now is "Well, I definitely miss certain parts. You know, I miss interacting with students, and I sometimes feel a bit out of touch with the classroom environment." As I've logged in more hours at my new job, I've been adding the following: "But, I really love my job."

If the conversation continued, I would expand on why I love my job. "I love working with teachers. I am passionate about my subject (technology), and I feel that I can effectively bridge the gap between the IT department and the Faculty."

And then I watched a TED talk forwarded to me (Thanks Aleks!) about Motivation that effectively expressed why I love my job. More on this after the video:

So, Mr. Pink (wonder how many times he gets Reservoir Dogs mentions) highlights Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose as keys to intrinsic motivation, and I see them readily apparent in my initial success.

Autonomy: I am very fortunate to have nearly complete autonomy in my job. I schedule my appointments and meetings with teachers, and this allows me the flexibility to get my work done at my pace (which is often frenetic, but I like it this way). Although I am assigned larger tasks, I am given the autonomy to assign myself smaller tasks, similar to the 80/20 Google rule mentioned in the video. I am often combing our TrackIt system for work orders that I can help with when I can, and I am able to respond very promptly to teacher technology "emergencies" because I am not bound to a set schedule.

Mastery: Confession: Coming into this job, I will admit to having only a working knowledge of a lot of the technologies that I was to be dealing with. However, I am interested in all of them, and with this desire, I am able to pursue mastery of these subjects. Combined with a desire to learn how to learn, I am always picking up new tools or skills that I hope to spread to my colleagues. Case in point: prior to the last week of August, all I knew about Microsoft SharePoint was that it took over for FrontPage. 3 months and an outgoing webmaster later, I'm the person largely responsible for new teacher webpages through SharePoint. Through working towards mastery of the subject (one book and tons of searches, though still looking for a good class), I am able to teach others on the basics of SharePoint.

Purpose: This was one of the earliest on-the-job realizations for me. I have a very clear purpose at ETHS: Support our teachers with new and existing technologies. Do this by facilitating better connections between the IT department and the faculty. The desired outcome: Engage our students and prepare them for the next step in their educational journey. With this sense of purpose firmly rooted, I come to school every day with the motivation to execute my job responsibilities to the fullest.


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