‘Yes, but what do you do?’

So second post as a Learning Technologist, and after a rather good response from my first, I’m quite enthused to keep this going! So first of all thank you to all the support and feedback on my last post. This time I want to cover something I have experienced, and no doubt other LT’s have too: the ‘What do you do?’ question. I’ve struggled with this from my parents to insurance companies, and although it can be frustrating, I kind of take a little bit of pride in it. Something that I hope others do too!

Let’s start with the basics, my Parents. This all ensued the Christmas after I went to Uni, with the, ‘I don’t think I want to be a teacher anymore’ panic, followed by the ‘What are you going to do then’ fiasco. After a bit more time at university I decided that I wanted to go into some type of higher education role, and with a keen interest in eLearning, this seemed like the ideal role for me. Good. Let’s calm my parents down. Well, it’s safe to say that the conversation went down like a lead balloon. Trying to explain the role to two people who still use post it notes stuck to the side of a laptop, it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be understanding any time soon. So I rounded off with a, ‘It’s a job that varies where ever you go,’ and left it at that. Nearly a month in and a phone call every couple of days telling them what I’ve been up to and I still get ‘Okay, but what do you actually do.’

The next experience I had of this lack of understanding was with my car insurance company. Obviously needing to change my occupation from student to learning technologist. I was optimistic to say the least when I said I was a Learning Technologist. The following response that followed was ‘Oh right, you teach technology.’ No, no, no my friend, it’s a bit different, I work with technology in education. ‘Oh, so you work in I.T.’ Nope. ‘You’re a Teacher then.’ Nope – is there any sort of educational support? After 20 minutes on the phone, I think I ended up being a Teacher…

The last memorable conversation, (there’s been plenty), was with a guy on holiday. Sat on the beach with a pint we got chatting, conversation ensued and we got to the ‘what do you do question.’ After a couple of minutes explaining that I had an interview the following day for a LT position and explaining all the things I would be doing (yes, I was excited). He turned away, taking a sip of his beer and ever so straight faced said, ‘Yes, my son works with computers too. ’ Ugh.

Now I know this can be frustrating, but after a while you get used to, even see the funny side! Personally I take pride in knowing that I have a job in a field that’s at the forefront of education. The fact that people haven’t heard of the job role makes me think that I’m doing something worthwhile, that many others don’t know what it’s all about. Plus, who doesn’t like being a smarty pants about something!!!


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