From tech to teaching
Posted on 2nd August 2018
In 2017, Linsey Miller’s company, Tag New Media, had been trading successfully for 15 years. However, as she described in her previous interview, after completing her degree she toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher. Instead, she set up her own business at the age of 21, going on to work successfully as a sole trader and raising a daughter in the process. Said daughter is partially responsible for what happened next, as Linsey explains…
“As I explained in the last blog, I had been tempted by the idea of going into teaching while at uni, but, I opted for a career in tech.
I did have a rough plan in my head, thinking I’d go into teaching in 2010, when I would be 30. This plan never came to fruition because I became pregnant in 2009!
“Subsequently, I was helping at my daughter’s nursery and one of the teachers said, ‘you are great with kids, have you ever thought of going into teaching?’ That was about three years ago and while I wouldn’t be so bold as to say this was the equivalent of lighting the blue touch paper, it did help put the thought back in my head.
“I felt I was now ready for a change. In particular, the fact that I had been successful in business meant that I felt that I wasn’t going to do this because I needed to: rather, it was because I genuinely believed – and still do - that it’s a change I want to make and I hope I can make a difference.
“It was while I was mulling things over I decided that I wanted to be a Primary rather than a Secondary teacher. Most Primary teachers don’t have much real web knowledge, but increasingly today they are teaching kids who will be doing jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. In the same way that I was introduced to tech by my dad, back in the 1980s, I believe we need to introduce current and future generations to the digital world as early as possible.
“I am well aware of the problems of persuading computer science graduates to go into teaching. After all, I didn’t do it straight away. Interestingly, there are several other mature graduates on my teacher-training course. A big problem today is that any IT graduate coming out of uni will almost certainly have a student debt to pay off: they’ll look at the salaries available in teaching and what they can make in industry and, well, you can’t blame them for following the money.
“I did have the problem of what to do with my clients. I discovered that I had been accepted onto the PGDE course at Strathclyde University two days before last Christmas. Moving on from my business with professionalism and dignity was going to be important, not just for me but, especially, for my clients. My course, and by extension my new career, starts in August 2018, so I had to create a plan, or more realistically, a number of plans, for my clients to make it easy for them to move on. Fortunately, over my career I’ve made excellent contacts and consequently I have a first-class web company to take over many of my clients’ sites, as well as a number of other contacts who can help with social, analytics, etc. I’ll continue to do a very little work for a few people while I’m at Strathclyde but essentially, my career in web is now almost over.
“As regards my future, I don’t mind if I teach older or younger kids. My daughter’s school has been brilliant, allowing me to spend time in each classroom, from nursery up to Primary 7, both in the English and Gaelic medium streams. I enjoyed middle school, but each age group presents different challenges. Whichever class I end up teaching, I intend to be in the classroom for a good few years. After that, who knows? I wouldn’t mind becoming a Principal Teacher or perhaps moving into the administrative hierarchy of education. I’ve a rough sketch in my head, but let’s wait and see what happens!”
Given the paucity of teachers with any real knowledge of the world of technology, it’s very encouraging to see people like Linsey taking her skills and experience into the classroom. It would be even more encouraging to see others making the move from the digital industries into education, especially those who have already enjoyed success in industry and now, like Linsey, want to give something back. We need more people like her.
Interview, Alastair Blair
Posted in Women in Tech
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