Being a Dad Helps Me In My (Future) Job

Tucked away somewhere I have a Bachelor's Degree in Education, reserved for use at some unspecified point in the future (one of the plans for its use was that I would move to teaching when TJ goes to school in 2007). Since achieving this degree I have had both a sense of anticipation at stepping into the classroom to teach school-aged kids, and a feeling of foreboding at leaving my current type of work in technology.

I guess it's in order here to recap on the type of work I do, exactly: I sit behind a computer all day, sometimes with music in my headphones, figuring out solutions to technology problems by writing new programs or fixing ones I've written previously. By "writing programs" I mean that I design "screens" or web pages that allow someone to query, manipulate and report on data gathered from the hospital, whether it's patient data, financial figures or something else. When you click a button on the screen or click a menu item, I determine what will happen. This also involves an element of pencil-and-paper design and of course collaboration with whoever wants the progam written. Oftentimes my programs need fine-tuning or the requirements change, and so I do spend a lot of time fixing problems that I've introduced (the ubiquitous computer "bug").

Most people that know me will tell you that computing is my love/obsession/vocation. Given what I've described above, it seems to me a million miles from teaching in a classroom. But I think I'm finally putting the missing pieces into my training for teaching - by being a Dad!

I'm amazed to find that having kids has helped me get excited about working with kids. I'm starting to think that my role as teacher will be a little like being a Dad in that I can help kids come to their own decisions, expose them to a wide variety of experiences, help them figure things out for themselves, etc. I realise that this is a small part of the actual job of teaching, but it's good to have the overall vision sometimes.

I guess it's one of those things that you can't know until you do it (here I'm speaking both of being a Dad and getting my courage up to teach). I reckon I'll make a better educator as a 30-something Dad than as a twenty-something adult teenager...

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