Andy Jones, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Charlottesville City Schools
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
As an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT), one of the most challenging aspects of my job is balancing the request for support in multiple subjects and grade levels. One hour I might be teaching a 4th grade science lesson and the next hour I might be collaborating on a project with a teacher in an 8th grade English class. As an ITRT, I must be knowledgeable in numerous subjects and grade levels, but also keep up with the constant changes in the technology world and how we might incorporate these new technologies into classroom instruction.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
The most common misconception about my job is that I am Tech Support. I am constantly asked to fix someone’s computer, iPad, or network in the schools, but my role is a teacher. It is confusing for many because I help train teachers and students in technology use and lead lessons with technology, so many think that I should also be able to fix technology. This is definitely a big misconception.
Where do you see the teaching field in 5 years?
Luckily for me, I have seen the amount of technology being used in the classroom increase exponentially in recent years and I can only imagine that this will continue over the next five years as the integration of technology becomes ubiquitous. Many of the local schools are emphasizing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) projects and this will definitely play a larger role in teaching and learning in the next five years. Just this year Buford Middle School opened the Lab School for Advanced Manufacturing and current students are doing amazing things just in this first year. For example, students have been building speakers out of 3D printed parts, rubber bands, wire, and magnets. Students are no longer asked to simply learn about concepts, they are now being asked to put that understanding to use and manufacture working devices based on what they know. It is scary to think about what students and teachers will be doing 5 years from now.
What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
During high school, my basketball coach thought that it was a good idea for his teams to hold a youth basketball clinic. He would have his players work these clinics because he felt that if you can teach a skill or drill than you would know it. I found out from working these youth basketball clinics that I really liked to work with kids and that I was pretty good at teaching. I continued working basketball camps during the summer throughout my college career and soon after graduating I decided to give the teaching profession a try and it has been a very rewarding experience.