|In fairness, since then Ontario
has released new computer
studies curriculum that actually
includes the word ‘cybersecurity’
in it! That’d be the first time
anywhere in Canada.
I posted a piece about the drastic ongoing shortage of cybersecurity specialists in Canada last week. Those would be the people who keep the digital communications we depend on every day running… and we don’t have enough of them…
– Canada was short on cybersecurity workers five years ago and the problem has only worsened
– One in six jobs goes unfilled in protecting data and critical infrastructure
– the cybersecurity workforce is older, whiter and more male than the general population”
When things get hacked in school boards, the learning stops pretty quickly as most now depend entirely on networked education technology to communicate lessons and learning. Cybersecurity also underlies the supply chains that provide the fuel and food we depend on and the financial systems that grease all those wheels. You’d think support of it would be obvious.
It’s Twitter though so self interest will always trump the collective kind – until there is no food, gas or electricity because our critical infrastructure is crippled in a cyber-attack. What struck me about this response was how insulated the thinking is.
The response that education shouldn’t chase job training is a common one in education. As a poor immigrant kid whose family struggled to make ends meet, it’s also one dripping in old settler generational comfort and privilage. If you are so sheltered that you can spend your time in public education finding yourself, then good for you; the rest of us are trying to feed ourselves.
Perhaps watching my family crash through bankruptcy while I was in high school put a unique spin on my experience. I dropped out and went to work because it’s what I had to do. A bit more time in class helping me find what I’m good at and then directing me into it would have been appreciated. It doesn’t all have to be about job preparedness, but stubbornly refusing to acknowledge it at all feels politically self serving.
When I started teaching in my mid-thirties, one of the senior guys in the department asked at lunch, ‘do you know why you never see a guidance councillor looking out the window in the morning? Because then they’d have nothing to do in the afternoon.’ I’d only just started teaching and didn’t know many guidance councillors, but my experience as a student with them wasn’t positive. What I can say after 20 years in public education is that guidance is one of those roles that you never see people leave. Classroom teaching is tough. You seldom even have time to go to the toilet. You’ll see a lot of people try it for a couple of years and then bail on the profession entirely. You’ll see others work their way into ‘support’ jobs outside of the classroom as soon as they can. Bright eyed twenty-something VPs are a fine example. My litmus test for if those jobs are easier than the classroom is how often I see people move back to teaching to get out of them. The answer is: you don’t.
A few weeks ago I found myself at dinner with a very smart person who is a leader in educational training. They said something that stuck with me. The problem with the education system is that it’s mainly populated by people who have never done anything else. The vast majority of educators attended K-12 schooling (where they felt very comfortable), went straight into university, got their undergraduate degree and then bachelor of education, and then immediately returned to K-12 education. They have never been in any other circumstance beyond the education system. They have never worked in a non-unionized environment. If we’re wondering why education has trouble evolving
, this is at the core of it.
That insolated world view is where you get comments like, ‘education isn’t job training!’ Perhaps that should read, ‘education was job training for me, but it isn’t for you!’ That explains the politically self-serving piece.
A quick fix would be to require all teacher candidates to have at least one year of life experience beyond the education system they’re so comfortable in. Perhaps then the status quo wouldn’t seem quite so inevitable.
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