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Do you work for a school or school district? How is it?

minitminit Member Posts: 77 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey Guys,

Since working for the school I graduated from as a student (7 years ago) I've viewed getting a chance to work for a school/district as a great job. Mostly for the work life balance and public sector days off. I was recently offered an interview for a pc support role that gave you the entire months of July & August off! But I would have had to take a 40% pay decrease. Just couldn't do it. I'm constantly looking for openings now with decent pay.

Do you work for a school or school district?
Do you like it?
How's the work life balance?
Relatively low stress?

Thanks!
M

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    PlantwizPlantwiz Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    I have worked for a school. Hours are typically good. And yes, the pay is less than in a year round gig, but that is where you get to be creative. Do not sit around for two months, go do something, either part-time year round, pick up summer work and travel to resort type areas and make tips, or simply live in a cool place for a couple months and return to work.

    Depending on the district, many are in flux and while technology is increasing, staff is decreasing...just be alert.

    IMO I do not think you can fairly measure educational payroll to that of a Fortune 500 company. Apples to Oranges. You really need to like working with students or around students and try to be the real support of teaching staff. The workday is significantly less (for the staf) but the work still needs to get done. IT people will work through projects, so you might see more off-hour and weekend work.

    Several districts I am aware of use contractors to handle many IT related issues any way, so you may want to inquire how much work you will be doing and the exact nature of the work...simply to know beforehand.

    I have a couple friends who have well over twenty years a working in school districts and the one works in a particularly financially strapped area...IT budget is no where close to what it needs to be to get the tech stuff to where the district is promising the community....they always are made to look bad of it, but it is out of his hands.

    Great experience! Can be a real good time or it may not match your personality. And as far as the stress...that is up to you - same as any place you will work.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I actually worked for two schools districts in my career and can say overall it's nice. You'll have to wade through school politics which can be hairy at times. Some teachers will treat you like gold and others will treat you like you was garbage. I was a support tech, so when I went home my day was done. Stress tended to come in waves, but the summers were usually stress free. I'd spend my summer imaging and deploying new machines, generally there weren't any other tickets. The one district I was at gave everyone Friday's in the summer off (paid). They found it saved the district a ton of money to just pay people not to be at work.

    The other thing to remember is you're around kids and that comes with all kinds of computer issues. Two notable ones I had were as follows. One kid decided to flip all the screens in the library (soft keys on the Dell's). Of course the librarian freaks out on us and we basically had to go up the chain due to her vendetta. Ultimately it came back to her because the principal wanted to know why she hadn't supervised her class properly or at least knew who did it. The other one was interesting. I got a report of a computer turning on for only 10 minutes and then shutting down. I look and I can hear the power supply fan was not spinning. I kept looking and looking, everything appeared to be in working order. Finally I poked a screwdriver around and found that one of the students took the black foam off of a headset and jammed it in. It blended with the darkness and just couldn't be seen. You'll be amazed at what they come up with!

    Honestly, you have to way all the benefits. Usually the pay is low, but the health benefits are nice. In NJ you pay into the pension which is a huge bonus and something that doesn't happen in the private sector. Also, as a part timer, I was given two weeks of sick time and after a year was going to get vacation. Do remember though, system administrators tend to not leave. The first district I was at had a system admin for each school except the elementary schools which were split between two guys. All of them had been there for a decade and weren't going anywhere any time soon. At the second district they had one system admin and he was also never going to leave. In that regards, most of the time you will be at the whim of whoever runs the technology department. At the first district, I had a friend who had literally been working for them since he was in high school. He had been part time for 7 or 8 years. A full time spot opened up and the Director of Technology's son got it. Mind you the spot was for a support tech and her son had been working part time as some sort of web developer. So not only did he take the spot, but he was deemed too valuable to lose as a website person so our team was down a full time tech.
    WIP:
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I agree with Planetwiz, it will be great experience because sometimes when there isn't any money you have to just make things work. Once a teacher needed a printer and we thought we had one that worked. We found out it have a broken color ink holder after we told her we had one. No money was available to fix it. So my buddy and I used a rubberband, superglue, and a tongue depresser from the school nurse to jimmy it to hold the cartridge. Printer worked for two years before it finally stopped and they had the budget to replace it.
    WIP:
    PHP
    Kotlin
    Intro to Discrete Math
    Programming Languages
    Work stuff
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    minitminit Member Posts: 77 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hey guys,

    I really appreciate your time and responses. I know no job is perfect by any means, each has its challenges. Just looking for something to lower the stress levels, and gain more of a work life balance. I feel as though users in the educational arena may be a bit more level headed then those in the healthcare area (where I work now). Doctors are psychos. I'll have to keep looking, maybe at a university.

    Hey Grinch, I'm in your area I think. Did you go to Drexel?
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    minitminit Member Posts: 77 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Anyone else with experience in a school setting?
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yup I'm a Drexel grad and currently work for their online side of the house ;) Go Dragons!
    WIP:
    PHP
    Kotlin
    Intro to Discrete Math
    Programming Languages
    Work stuff
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    traceyketraceyke Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    PERFECT timing for this thread! I have an interview next Monday for an IT Support Specialist position in a school district. Like minit, I am very curious about life as an IT guy in a school district. Based on what I've read, it doesn't seem too stressfull. I'm currently doing IT support in a manufacturing environment, so getting a gig in a school district SHOULD be easier for me. :D
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    For the most part, it is fairly low stress, but it also depends on the role. My buddy who I worked with had to deal with getting all the testing data to the state. It literally amounted to him going through huge Excel files and fixing all the formatting mistakes that the people in charge inputted incorrectly. Missing zip codes, mistyped data, kids names wrong and the system wouldn't let you submit if it detected a certain number of errors. But beyond that it's just like any IT job some days you will hate every minute of it and other days you'll think this isn't half bad. If the money was better I would have gone back, but it's super low and most districts won't let you unionize like the teachers do.
    WIP:
    PHP
    Kotlin
    Intro to Discrete Math
    Programming Languages
    Work stuff
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    Ravage811Ravage811 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I currently work for a school district. Like others have said there is a lack of funding. During the past four years we have seen our IT budget get cut. Which makes it hard to provide proper support to the teachers and building administrators across the board..... For my particular district we are spread out and have only 8 IT staff to cover 28 schools.

    Besides that point it is a good place to learn, Education is investing heavily in technology to incorporate online testing for the students.

    My day to day tasks during the school year includes:

    Providing End user support for teachers/staff/building administrators
    Implementing computer labs (i.e. Running network drops, and implementing new computers)
    Maintaining Computer Labs (i.e. Re-imaging, Pushing Software out, Ensuring they are good to go for testing)
    Monitoring Network Connectivity
    Then on top of that I also am the Telecommunications Manager and a one man show to provide support for all 28 Schools.

    During the summer when school is not in session if we are building a new school we usually are in there when we have the green light setting up the computers, network, phone systems, and etc.

    Also summer is time to really focus on getting labs that need to be re-imaged/ replaced handled, as well as teacher machines.

    Anyways hope this helps out with your question. For someone that is particularly new to the field can gain a lot of exposure and experience with a lot of different technologies.
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    eansdadeansdad Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I've been in a school district for almost 8 yrs. Slow promotion progression (working on my 2nd appeal for promotion from the state), low pay and poor excuses as to why increases are low, horrible union, kids that break things because they can and an inside look as to why schools are so bad. The only positives are the hours and the fact that even though our title is that of a tech we deal with all issues within our buildings including sever and network.

    If you need a job or exp a school district is great if your looking to advance and don't need the job then move along.
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    HauntHaunt Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    From what I've seen, IT positions for school districts are way over paid for the work being done, at least in California. Another thing I've noticed is that they have lower standards for qualifications, usually a high school diploma and 1 or 2 years experience. It's pretty surprising they pay so well considering that, might explain the budget problems they all suffer from.

    I interviewed for a school district a long time ago, didn't get the position and glad I didn't looking back. My impression (and no offense to any of you) is that a lot people with mediocre qualifications and experience will land these jobs and just kick back and relax and enjoy their benefits and pay and grow stagnant there. Same can be said for working for the state. You'll have people who have been working there for 10+ years and don't know sh*t. This is my personal experience at least.

    Be prepared to to work with antiquated technology if you're going to work for a school district. Like others said, the IT budgets just aren't sufficient so you'll probably be pulling your hair out having to work with 10+ year old tech.

    I say if your career goals are in the right place, do it and take advantage of the pay and benefits and get some experience, but keep working on your education and certifications so you'll be able to advance to bigger and better things and not grow stagnant in that environment like lots of other people do.
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    wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I have spent most of my 20+ year IT career working with K12 schools in KY. The pay isn't always market, but the benefits and the training usually are good. Funding is always interesting - I have done installs in small rural districts that would have cost a quarter of a million plus for a biz, but with software discounts and USF money they paid ten percent of that. So, you while the workstations were aging, they had 10gig fiber links to high end core routers, highly available full wireless coverage, and lots of MS software.

    Generally fairly low stress, but there are plenty of politics and crunch times for reporting and testing.
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    andre81andre81 Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Customer Service and politics take precedence to the point of being in retail sales. If working with machines/technologies is what you really want to do than look else where. If being somewhat lackadaisical and being comfortable with your starting pay, or close to it, for the rest of your life sounds great to you, then go for it. If you prefer to be paid for performance, again stay away. If you have absolutely no experience and just need to put that first job on the resume, than maybe. If you happen to be ASD/Aspergers learn to disappear and handle your duties as quietly as possible; teachers will talk forever if you let them, and they will think you are being rude for not listening. Learn to be ok with being "support", which in the school system = the same as maintenance or custodial.

    The positives are the schedule and time off, working with kids, and a plethora of technology; our department works year round. If you can find a way to support yourself on the side to bolster the mediocre pay than this can be the perfect job for a family man/woman. The people are usually really awesome people to work with, but if pay and hard work take precedence in your life this may become overshadowed.

    Many people settle in for the long haul, and often they hold those jobs you may want; there may not be a ladder to climb, and they may not care to show you new things.

    Many people love this field of technology, but for many it is not the "IT job" that they thought it was going to be.
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    QordQord Member Posts: 632 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Little different perspective: I work for a non-profit Community College. It counts as a school, but I think it's a pretty different experience than working for a district or individual elementary or high school would be. I love it here! The pay is crap, but we get great benefits and a good, healthy work environment. Unlike working for a larger company, having a small shop for a large end-user base allows an entry level tech (like me) to get exposure to lots of things I wouldn't even know were in use in a larger organization. If you're not sure what aspect of IT you'd like to move into as a specialty, then that is the kind of place you want to work. I get to touch hardware, software, proprietary systems, servers, networks, security, policy, training, R&D, procurement, helpdesk....you name, we all get a piece of it. For the aspiring generalist of JOAT, this is the perfect environment to start in.
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    traceyketraceyke Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    This is all good information. It seems that working at a school district can be bittersweet depending on the school district personell/location. Nonetheless, I'm still excited about the possible chance to work in a more "relaxed" environment (compared to working in a plant).

    Trying my best not to steal the thread but,

    Here is the job posting for the position that I'm interviewing for on Monday:

    Job Summary:
    The person must have the ability to take directions and work independently on all district technology (laptops, desktops, printers, software, some network administration and peripherals, such as video projectors, document cameras, etc.) The job would involve hardware, software and operating system upgrades, data entry, troubleshooting, repairs and maintenance of technology throughout the district.
    Qualifications:
    • Minimum Requirements:
    • High School Diploma required
    • A+ Certification recommended
    • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification recommended
    • Associates' degree required, Bachelor's degree preferred
    • Ability to communicate with a wide variety of users
    • Familiarity with Windows XP and newer operating systems
    • Familiarity with Apple iOS operating system and devices
    • Experience with installation of computer software, hardware and peripherals
    • Experience with hardware upgrades, repairs and maintenance
    • Experience with wired and wireless network operation and troubleshooting.
    • Experience with IP telephony
    • Three years work experience in related technical field
    • Must have valid Michigan driver's license
    Salary range: $35,700.-$45,700.

    I currently make $32,000....and the pay is monthlyicon_cry.gif

    This gig is significantly closer to home, pays more, and prolly pays bi-weekly.

    Is this typical school district IT work?
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    sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    It doesn't look like the job will be very challenging but if they pay more than you are currently making, go for it. The benefits and relaxed environment are worth it for a while. If your goal is to make more, then stay for a few years to gain some experience and look for something else then.
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    eansdadeansdad Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Might just be an old job posting being recycled but Windows XP? I would apply but would want these questions anwsered.

    1) What type of work is typical? Ie are you expected to do networking and server related work?
    2) Are iPads being used and are they being phased in for a 1 to 1 program?
    3) is this a civil service position? union?
    4) Is their any advancement?
    5) Is learning encouraged? Is it paid for?

    Stagnation is a real possibility. When I started this job I was in the middle of my AS in Networking and working on CCNA. I dropped out and stopped studying. Only over the last few years did I realize how dead end this place is. Even if my appeal is successful I'll move to about $55k, a SR title would move me to $53k. Not to mention every year they seem to be "looking" into outsource our department even though it would cost them more to do it.
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    XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    Haunt wrote: »
    My impression (and no offense to any of you) is that a lot people with mediocre qualifications and experience will land these jobs and just kick back and relax and enjoy their benefits and pay and grow stagnant there. Same can be said for working for the state. You'll have people who have been working there for 10+ years and don't know sh*t. This is my personal experience at least.
    This is what I'm seeing in the college environment I recently began working at. Needless to say, it has surprised me. I assumed those working on this level would be amongst the highest in education, experience, & knowledge. My assumptions were incorrect. None hold certifications & Associates is the highest level of degree achieved amongst the group. It's been eye-opening.
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    eansdadeansdad Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Xyro wrote: »
    This is what I'm seeing in the college environment I recently began working at. Needless to say, it has surprised me. I assumed those working on this level would be amongst the highest in education, experience, & knowledge. My assumptions were incorrect. None hold certifications & Associates is the highest level of degree achieved amongst the group. It's been eye-opening.

    How many are hired under the friends and family plan? In our department every one of us either knows or is related to an administrator or board member. Same thing with teachers, aides and everyone else. One reason why a look behind the curtain of our education system is really depressing.
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    XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    eansdad wrote: »
    How many are hired under the friends and family plan?
    All of them are. icon_lol.gif

    Even the "big guy" got hired because of his wife & he earns 85K lol. That is a lot in my area where the average income is about 26K.
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