Which type of Computing teacher are you?

During the holidays I visited my parents’ house, and in my old bedroom I decided to clean out the wardrobe. (This post does get better, I promise). In the wardrobe, I found an old CD of “My Documents” from when I was at uni, and amongst the hilarious documents on it such as the Flash animation I made about myself being “C-Ra, Queen of Code”, I found a JavaScript quiz I created where the user had to answer a series of fairly arbitrary questions and was then told which piece of software they most resembled, along with a snazzy jpeg to post on their own blog. I think I ended up being Minesweeper, although I wouldn’t like to comment on why 😀 (This would also be an awesome programming task by the way, perhaps for GCSE? I may write it up in the future…)

It also occurred to me a while ago that when choosing A-Level subjects, one of the factors that does have an impact on pupil choice – whether this is logical or not or not – is you, the teacher. I think this is especially so in a small department where there may be only one or two teachers, so a student opting for Computing or ICT A-Level is guaranteed to be signing away a sizeable chunk of their time to being in your presence and trusting in your expertise to teach them the subject. What does this have to do with the quiz I mentioned before? Well I think it’s fair to say that even from a cursory glance round the excellent CAS conference last week, we are a fairly stereotypical lot. I thought it might be entertaining to have a tongue in cheek look at the types of Computing teacher I’ve met. Warning – blatant stereotypes ahead!


Embarassing ‘Dad
Embarrassing Dad is probably an older gentleman who is friendly, smiley and generous with his time. He probably wears a slightly worn out suit or pale chinos, and may even resort to sandals in the summer. He is obviously really down with the kids because he uses words like “Radical” and has the latest Simply Red LP. He probably learnt to program on a BBC micro and gets ridiculously over-enthusiastic at the thought of visiting the Bletchley Park museum. He might also teach Physics or Maths. Although they feel kind of bad about it because he is so nice, students may avoid the subject in case his uncoolness rubs off on them by association.

Sir Alan
This guy trained in business and actually wanted to teach Business Studies, but somehow got lumbered with teaching some ICT as well. He wears his suit as a badge of honour to show he should really be back ‘in the city’, even though he probably bought it from the bargain rail at Marks and Sparks and has only been to London on the bus. He has a tendency to gloss over the questions which he doesn’t really understand with his slick patter, and exposes the holes in his ICT knowledge in public – but no one else notices!

Shy Geek (male)
This guy totally knows his stuff, in fact he knows more than you could possibly want to ever know about computers. You slightly suspect that he goes home and writes compilers for fun. He either dresses in a similar fashion to Embarassing Dad, or if he is a bit younger you may just be able to discern the writing of a thinkgeek t-shirt slogan underneath his pristine white collared shirt. He runs awesome lunchtime clubs that the students secretly love to go to, but don’t want anyone to know they were there.

What is up with this guy – he’s breaking the rules! It should be written somewhere that it’s not possible to be both sporty and geeky, but somehow he manages it. Disproportionate amounts of his tasks are based around football and this can alienate some of the girls, but the boys love his lessons. He probably either goes to the gym before school, gets in on his bike or goes for a run afterwards, and hangs around with the PE department in the staff room.

Know it all
This guy is the overlord of all computers within the school and if you dare to install something he doesn’t like, he will smite you down. Don’t ever correct his SQL syntax. At internal moderation meetings, he will probably argue the smallest technical point just so that he can get to correct your marking, because clearly you can’t possibly know as much as him, mortal. He probably runs his own IRC channel in his spare time.

Shy Geek (female)
Similar to the male version, except she probably wears dodgy oversized tops from the BHS over 80’s range and you have never actually seen her legs. Like in all good films, if she took off her glasses she would suddenly resemble the geek version of Cameron Diaz, but she really doesn’t care about that because she knows she could kick your ass at Tekken and code the next Facebook without breaking a sweat.

Sideshow Bob
She has the craziest hair you’ve ever seen, probably because she finds it more enjoyable to do stuff on the computer than spend ages in the bathroom. She is a very knowledgeable teacher, but because she looks a bit like a crazy cat lady she is often grossly underestimated and underrated. She might wear brightly coloured tights or multi coloured skirts.

Nerd girl fail
Hot Mama
She probably doesn’t know a lot about ICT but she looks like Lara Croft, she’s going out with the Brogrammer and she needed a few extra lessons to fill up her timetable. She’s done an excellent job of teaching the year 10’s about write loops and her favourite programming language is HTML. If you are the shy geek (female) or Sideshow Bob, don’t dare to question her shocking lack of subject knowledge, you’ll be labelled mean and unsupportive by your male colleagues. I wonder why?

Department Mum
She’s like your mum in the department, always there to cheer you up and make things better. If the network goes down she’s probably already knocking on your classroom door with a handful of worksheets and a cup of tea with a chocolate hob nob. Sometimes she can be a bit forgetful, but everyone forgives her. The kids love her lessons and even come in at break and lunch for the safe environment.

Lady Sugar
She’s a woman in a male dominated subject and therefore she’s got something to prove. She reminds you constantly of her first class degree from a top university, lest you dare to even open your mouth and suggest something that could be a cool idea for the department. She designed all of the schemes of work, and you have to blackmail the students with sweets so that they don’t tell her your class is doing something different.

The Rebel
This one could be either male or female, and probably has a slightly deviant hair colour, earrings, a dodgy beard or wears a denim jacket. They insist on poking up in staff meetings and making their views known on *everything*, when everyone else is wishing they’d just shut up so the meeting was over more quickly. They enjoy using obscure teaching methods and probably don’t stick to the scheme of work, although this sometimes has surprisingly good results. Who knew that teaching Year 7 lisp would be so successful?

I’m sure there may be others I haven’t written (feel free to comment below!). In case you’re wondering, I think I’m a little bit of the Shy Geek, and a little bit of Sideshow Bob 🙂


3 thoughts on “Which type of Computing teacher are you?

  1. Mr_G_ICT says:

    probably the rebel, although my views on everything are usually in the ICT office, not in a meeting. constantly re-write SoW even though this gives me more work than i need to and always want to try a new idea (Or maybe i’m just lying and like to be thought of as a rebel!)

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