A typical Head of Technology, by @Jim1982

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A typical Head of Technology no matter what their discipline loves making things. They HOD of Maths, at HVC, said to me the other day in the staff room ‘All you do in technology is have fun making things’ and my response was ‘yes you are right and we get paid for it!’

Technology education has changed massively over the past 20 years, and with that, so has the role of (HoD) Head of Technology. An ever-changing curriculum needs a creative head of technology to ensure the curriculum is update and forward thinking. ‘All you do is woodwork, metalwork, cooking and sewing’ are the jibes technology teachers get, but that is so far from the truth (if it is not in your school then your technology department aren’t doing what they should be!).

When I was at school, I was taught by two fantastic HoDs of Technology, so much so they inspired me to become a technology teacher. So I believe a Head of Technology needs to inspire his/her staff and students to be problem solvers and creative thinkers.


A Technology Department SHOULD…

…be updated with the world around them. When it comes to spending money, a Head of technology needs to be frugal, yet wanting to spend it in the right places at the right time. A Head of Technology has to think about spending money on all the normal classroom staples, such as machinery, equipment, tool and materials. One machine can cost £10,000, so decisions need to be the right ones. I know other colleagues think that technology departments spend too much money, however you will never hear a Head of Technology staying that they have too much money!

Spending money comes easy?

You have to be a fighter and make sure that the subject remains important to the student, parents and the school. Pressures on schools to ensure that the English Baccalaureate subjects are taken at GCSE, has made the Head of Technology’s job and life a bit harder. However, if you develop a curriculum that is engaging, a subject that students enjoy; parents can see how important the subject is in developing students for the world of work or further education.

I’m never happy. I always want more and have a reason why I do; if you are stand-still as a Head of Technology you are in trouble.

“…if you are stand-still as a Head of Technology you are in trouble…”

A great Head of Technology has a great team around him/her this is without question. A tech department can’t be about one person it has to be about a creative team with all types of expertise. However, the Jack-of-all-trades title is needed, where the HOD of Technology mucks in and teaches at bit of everything. I’ve been there teaching CAD one minute, then teaching year 7 food the next. This makes the job very interesting and the day pass very quickly. Sometimes, too quick!

Jack of All trade? Or a master of one?

Organisation is key, with different subjects areas, projects, materials, maintenance, assessment, CPD, H&S. If you aren’t organised as a Head of Technology you would go under. Lists, folders, spreadsheets, boxes, post it notes all are in the ‘toolbox’ of organisation, for a Head of Technology to ensure everything is in place so the students and staff are happy and know what they are doing.

I love being a Head of Technology and would not want to be a leader of any other subject. Do we have fun and get paid for it? Oh yes; but the less obvious tasks that the Head of Technology has to complete go unnoticed and make it a challenging job…

“…But, I love it!…”

The Technology Department at HVC is a great team to lead, I’m very lucky! Here is a presentation of my department – click to play:

Technology at HVC by @Jim1982
Technology at HVC by @Jim1982

Written by Jim Smith and edited and posted by @TeacherToolkit.

Jim Smith is a Design & Technology teacher (teaching for 9 years) in a secondary school in the Peak District; Head of Department and a Head of House. He loves technology and gadgets. He is also the organiser of Derbyshire TeachMeet and a Pedagoo geek!

Jim Smith - @Jim1982
Jim Smith – @Jim1982

This is his 2nd Thunk for @TeacherToolkit.

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