Requirements for a good Tech.

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by Kay, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Kay


    So this isn't aimed at anyone in particular, please I hope no one takes offence.

    I have seen many adverts for technicians that require a degree. Now I have posted here before about one of my technicians, for those that are interested it has got worse. I have to write an index card each afternoon with tomorrows jobs.
    Last week I had written empty dishwasher, tidy the prep room and our two labs.
    All items ticked, stack of glassware of on the side. I queried this and asked why they were ticking jobs that weren't complete - I was told that the dishwasher had been emptied!
    At present I cant give them lessons to prep and capability proceedings are possibly about to start.

    This technician has four years experience in other schools and a relevant degree. No children, but really doesn't want to work all year (which is fine of course, but as mentioned by this person that any school job will do because they just want the holidays, still fine, but an indication of where I am going with this!)

    I don't have a degree, I have an HNC in Biology with specialisms in microbiology. A levels in Chemistry and Physics and GCSE A and B grades in all three subjects.
    I am a career tech, not a bored housewife (still not a problem, some of the best techs are mums that need holidays)
    I am senior tech in a top grammar and did an apprenticeship in lab tech-ing at Imperial College London.
    I'm not amazing or exceptional at much at all, but I'm a pretty good technician.

    He'll get the job. It makes me sad.
  2. You will always find people who are trying to do the minimum amount of work, generally it has nothing to do with level of education or otherwise. I tick many of your boxes i.e. I have a relevant science degree & when I started I was a bored housewife who needed an excuse to get out of house, however I am also a "career tech" and love my job (deeply saddens me that my health is causing me to have to consider doing less). Please don't lump all people with degrees in the no good pile.
    I must confess however to never having unloaded a dishwasher (mainly because we don't have one!) But if I did, I think I would assume putting away was part of the job - obviously your colleague requires VERY precise instructions.
    Beaker and Kay like this.
  3. Kay


    Goodness, wouldn't dream of it. Quite the opposite. I wish I had one and have considered getting back to it many times.
    It is just sad that employers restrict their choices and are putting people without degrees in the no good pile.
    One that I have seen is so keen to get a graduate they have even suggested someone who would be interested in teaching, or someone on a gap year. Technicians aren't all wannabe or failed teachers, we don't all have to aspire to being a teacher.
    To suggest a graduate on a gap year when it takes a year to see the whole cycle of the job and to really find your feet seems bonkers. Surely you are looking for someone who is going to stay for some time?
    Tanya D likes this.
  4. As to what requirement for a good tech are; here are my suggestions:
    Flexible, basic understanding of science, organised, ability to work well alone and with others, good communicator, I'm sure there's other things that I can't quite think of at the moment
  5. Its simple you are either good at your job or not, a lot depends on your work ethos not qualifications.
  6. I feel your pain, I have one the same.

    Mind you, I'm no career science tech - 15 years in IT before this. That said, I do like this. I find it satisfying. I don't have anything in science bar grade B GCSEs from yesteryear.

    However, I think I can advise of one thing that you're possibly wrong about...

    "I'm not amazing or exceptional at much at all, but I'm a pretty good technician" - WRONG. I'm sure plenty of people would disagree. Don't do yourself down, SELL yourself. Believe in yourself.

    "I'm a damn good tech, I've been there, I've done lots, I'm still learning every day. I still have all my limbs, because I'm careful and conscientious. On occasion, I can perform minor miracles. I keep my head when all about are losing theirs, and I'll always be there to have their back and tip the wee out of the shoe when the panic passes. We're called support staff - without us to support them, there's no foundation to build on, and you can't build a good learning atmosphere without damn solid foundation, to whit: us."

    Tech geek and littlemissloser27 like this.
  7. Kay


    If I credit you can I print that and put it on my wall?
    Not only do I have all my limbs because I am careful, my teachers have theirs too. Even those that I catch climbing into the fume cupboard to see the bromine better. I felt like I was shouting at a student when I hollered "Er? Really? Get out"
    StElsona likes this.
  8. no need to credit me..:D I have a lot of Douglas Adams on my walls..:)
  9. I have had an uninterested and unmotivated staff member in the past (Highly qualified to Masters level and wanted bigger things than working in a school so not quite the same as your scenario).
    I had to approach the shortcomings in two ways.
    1. Sat her down with myself and the head of science and went through the expectations of what is required to complete certain tasks fully.
    2. Downloaded a CLEAPSS lab check list to support the restocking of labs and to explain what should be obvious to an experienced technician to properly maintain laboratories.
    I got very annoyed at having to list the required jobs but it helped with evidence when ignored, which you may need for a capability proceedings.
    I have GCSE's in Science and been a Technician for 12 years my experience has come from doing the job.
    I was lucky that she eventually moved on to further her career in Microbiology.
    Kay likes this.
  10. Hello
    Ive now been doing this job one year and two terms. And I love, love, love it. Before this I was a Senior Biomedical Scientist in a busy Pathology Lab. There are two of us here with 10 class rooms. My colleague has been here a year longer than me. She too worked in the Pathology lab. I have a MSc. My colleague has an HNC. She has taught me everything and is amazing and I would be lost without her. Im allegedly the Senior technician but there is very little difference between us on a day to day basis. Qualifications mean nothing.We are both organised and used to working together. We often pick up tasks the other has been pulled away from. We unconsciously take it in turns to initiate stuff..
    I would suggest all you need is common sense, good organisational skills, be happy to be interrupted and a sense of fun and curiosity. We are facilitators in a symbiotic relationship. Its great!! If you are applying for a Senior position just tell your experience and how good you are.
    TechJo likes this.

  11. And Terry Pratchett
    PhysicsSimon likes this.
  12. I feel your pain as well.

    The only major difference is that Senior Management are slowly becoming much more aware and starting to see the major short comings of the person in question. Whether they will /can deal with it is another matter!

    Is it your job they will get? Can't you tell management how terrible they are without looking catty?
  13. I was given this document quite soon after starting work as School Lab Tech (many moons ago. Although tongue in cheek there is a grain of truth in much of it.

    School Laboratory Technician

    (Is this the job for you?)

    Only candidates with extensive practical experience in the following need to consider this occupation.

    Mind reading, Pyrotechnics, all types of electrical and mechanical repair, Nuclear physics, Weight lifting, Gardening, Botany, Brewing, Renal transplantation, Electrical engineering, Typing, Witchcraft (or Pharmacy), Forestry, Filing, Carpentry, Plastic work, Child minding, Magician’s assistant, Magicians’ property manufacturer, Glassblowing, Foreign language specialist, Plumbing, Invigilation.

    A degree in the art of abbreviation will save many hours of chasing teaching staff to ask for an explanation of a requisition slip.

    Having satisfied the above criteria, what does the job entail?

    • Must be able to learn quickly from mistakes as very little relevant training is given

    • Must be quick to learn individual teachers coded messages e.g. for some staff Tuesday = Wednesday, Period 1 = Period 2 and Lab 1 = Lab 3 etc.

    • Come to work dressed for the job i.e. waterproofs for beating hedges, wellies for worm digging and collecting soil samples. N.B. an ice pick is an extremely useful accessory for this job in the winter and during the ‘rainy’ season a sou’wester or an umbrella are invaluable.

    • NEVER sit down during your coffee break, as this signals multi requests for a hole punch, pencils, treasury tags etc. If a teacher enters during your break, leap to your feet to avoid the ‘it’s all right for some’ comment.

    • NEVER throw anything away without checking at least three times with every member of staff that it is OK to do so. Failure to do this will result in the lecture of ‘that was the most important thing that was ever brought into the department and YOU have disposed of it!!’

    • Learn to live with a teacher’s unwashed coffee mugs. They are simply trying to grow a hitherto unknown species of mould.

    • All experiments are supposed to be left lying on the windowsills for at least 6 months – the time gives a far better result. Just because clearing up becomes almost impossible is of no concern to the teaching staff.

    • Learn to be grateful for small mercies, DO NOT moan if the apparatus that you spent all the previous day preparing comes back untouched – at least it came back and you don’t have to wash it!

    • Accept the fact that anything you have at home that might be of the slightest use to the department is automatically ‘the departments’ and must be donated to the school whenever requested.

    • You will be expected at all times to know exactly where every member of staff is and what and who they are teaching.

    • You will be expected to find any student who may be in Science, or if not then perhaps in modern languages.

    • You will be expected to know the genealogy of every student in the school for at least three generations.

    • Never venture into the corridor at break time without an armed escort who is that hard he makes the SAS quake.

    • Do not tell any member of staff where the matches and board pens are kept – they will use them!

    • If you have only one pair of hands be prepared to quickly grow a second pair. Transplants are not allowed because the money cannot be justified out of the Dept. budget.

      Above all

    Kay, Julie Delaney, Rachel and 16 others like this.
  14. I feel like this should be printed out and put on our wall...just to put us in our place when we forget it!
    I do love your viewpoint :D:D
  15. I have a very similar document pinned to my wall
    StElsona likes this.
  16. Please may I steal this and print it out
    StElsona likes this.
  17. I think that we are on the same page.:D:D
    StElsona and Vee like this.
  18. Of course you can print it out Beth ;) Can't remember where I got it from but was given this at the same time (not as relevant to the thread but ....). Again, very tongue in cheek but a grain of truth lurking in there.

    Tips from Technicians to Teachers

    1. If it’s really a ‘rush job’, run in and interrupt me every 10mts to inquire how it’s going. That helps

    2. Always leave the Dept. without telling anyone where you are going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone phones for you.

    3. If my arms are full of papers, boxes, books or glassware, don’t open the door for me. I need to learn how to perform miracles routinely and opening doors with my teeth is excellent training.

    4. If you give me more than one job to do, don’t tell me which is the priority. Let me guess.

    5. Do your best to keep me late. I like my Prep room and really have nowhere to go or anything better to do.

    6. If a job I do pleases you, keep it a secret. Leaks like that could cost you a promotion.

    7. If you don’t like my work tell everyone. I like my name to be popular in conversation.

    8. If you have special instructions for a job, don’t write it down. In fact, save it until the job is almost done.

    9. Never introduce me to people you’re with. When you refer to them later, my shrewd deductions will identify them.

    10. Be nice to me only when the job I am doing for you could really change your life.

    11. Tell me all your problems. No-one else has any and it’s nice to know someone is less fortunate.

    Julie Delaney, Rachel, Ltech and 2 others like this.
  19. Jim


    Sue, I've been a technician for over 13 years and this is the single most accurate set of documents I have ever seen. Most relatable has to be the section on sitting down, requests and comments from staff. I once had a teacher give me stick 3 days in a row about having time for lunch before I reminded her about the difference in position and pay.
    These have made my morning, thank you!
    StElsona likes this.
  20. Absolutely brilliant, made me laugh out loud, but sadly so true. Above all else keep a sense of humour before we aii go totally mado_O