Tie And Jeans

About Andrew

IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not recommend wearing a tie with jeans as a fashion choice.

Tie And Jeans is the personal blog of Andrew Carle (not that one, although we share a hairstyle), and documents my personal learning, opinions, and frequent mistakes. Currently I work as a tech coordinator and teacher at the Flint Hill School in Northern Virginia.

Tie and Jeans does not reflect the policies and/or practices of Flint Hill School.

The first schools I worked at were in Santa Cruz County, which is the kind of place that people are thinking of when they say “Oh,  you’re from California.” The beach was spitting distance of the middle school (7th grade surf team!), and easily half the teachers wore some form of sandals every day, year round.

When I started teaching I was 22 and fresh out of working the grills and fryers of local restaurants. I was pretty sure I was faking . . . well, faking whatever it is that I was doing. I had scored this great job through an interview where the toughest (I felt) questions had been about basic troubleshooting techniques of 1998. In a few months I had gone from a job where you set aside your nastiest clothes for work, and often kept a spare set on hand for when you hit the bars afterwards, to one where I was working with real adults. So I decided I was going to have work clothes – collared shirts and ties!

I was the youngest person on staff by a decade, and the only one who wore a tie. It was a good choice. As I moved from public schools in Santa Cruz to independent schools in Silicon Valley,  San Francisco, and Washington D.C., my dress code stayed consistent.   I could meet with parents and admin, teach a class or run carpool and was always recognizable as “the teacher.” I was the one in the tie.

But as the tech coordinator, I always wound up working under someone who wore jeans. Tech directors normally lead lives very removed from students – and then also removed from parents and those unexpected “important person” encounters. They had the phone that buzzed when servers went down, and were the ones who had to dig through decades old wiring closets. They wore jeans.

As an overarching vision for how ed tech will develop over the next decade or two, the jeans roles for tech directors are going to become smaller and smaller. In 5 years time network wiring and switches will be universally viewed as a facilities issues, along with electricity and sprinklers. But now, and through that transition, ed tech needs people who are fluent in both worlds – who can work with teachers as peers in a professional development day, and also pop out to talk shop with vendors or fix up a bit of spotty fiber. Those are really different worlds. For the last decade I’ve tried to keep a foot planted in both of them. This is blog is trying to be my outboard brain where I collect ideas that relate to either space.

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