(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)
Sigh. Today’s slice of life is all about frustration.
At my school, I am one of the two technology coordinators, which really means that if your printer goes down or your email doesn’t work, we hack into your computer and tell you the words you most want to hear: “I have no idea what’s wrong. Sorry.” And then we call in the real technology support from the school district. You can imagine, though, how busy I look while I sit at your computer and how much tech jargon can fall from my mouth when I want it too.
No, it’s not like that. Not really. We do kind of know what we are doing, some of the time.
Anyway, one of my tasks is to keep one of our carts of laptops up and running, which I don’t mind doing since having the cart housed in my room makes it SO much easier for my students to use them. But, from time to time, I do have to say goodbye and watch the rolling house of computers go out of my room to another classroom. That is good. That means more kids are using technology.
But …. I wish other teachers would take better care of the equipment. It’s bad enough reminding kids to be careful. “That costs $1,000 — if you drop it, your parents buy us a new one!” I also have to come down hard on my teaching friends and colleagues, who just don’t seem to get it. And here is one reason why there is often a great divide between teachers and technology coordinators. At our school, teachers have ripped power cords from the wall (luckily averting a power surge into the cart of laptops), lost crucial connecting wires for our video cameras (Did you know a power cord for a video camera costs almost as much as the camera itself?), dropped digital cameras, misplaced microphones and headphones, and let kids do all sorts of stuff unattended on the computers.
Yesterday morning, I opened up the computer cart — my students are part of the Many Voices for Darfur social action project — and I completely flipped out. All of the power cords from the laptops were jumbled up in a rat’s nets of wires. It was an incredible tangle that was jammed so tight together that I could barely get the laptops out of the cart. It was like trying to do a complex piece of origami with the shakes. I was furious and had to spend 15 minutes of my own precious time working all of the wires free and tucking them back in, and then I discovered that a handful of the laptops had not even been plugged in to the cart the night before and so, they were never charged up. Ahhhhh.
Luckily, there were no kids in earshot as I swore my head off, cursing and muttering to myself. I was much cooler later in the day when I confronted one of the teachers who had used the cart. She expressed ignorance and said she had seen the wires but did not know if it had been her students or if it had been like that before she got the cart from another teacher. What? I had to resist the urge to berate her (since that is very unprofessional) so I diplomatically used my words (just like we teach our kids) to let her know that SHE NEEDS TO A BETTER JOB OF TAKING CARE OF THE COMPUTERS!!!
Peace (in untangling the mess of life),