Everyone loves new stuff, right? Well, I got good news about new stuff this past week at school.
I teach in a computer lab. The computers in there are horribly old (for computers, that is). Capacitors going out on the motherboard, processors burning up to the point where they work very slow if at all, and some computers curling up and dying (6 within a year and a half). Every other day I hear a student complain about the computers. This happens despite the fact that I’ve already told them that there are issues. I tell them they have to be patient with it. What I don’t actually say is that they have to be patient with the computer like I’m patient with them and their incessant whining about it. It just proves that these students have grown up in a world of instant gratification. They aren’t used to learning about how the computer works. I’ve even taught them a few basic things about how the computer works, only to have to remind them “use what I taught you” whenever they start whining again. Ugh.
Well, about a month ago, I was told by the district IT person that is based on our campus that new computers might be coming (finally). The entire district decided to go with Apple when Windows Vista came out. I personally disagree with that choice. They should have just waited for Windows 7. I’ve already had a MacBook loaded with Windows XP using Boot Camp. I don’t mind the hardware. So it’s a perfectly acceptable setup. The new computers I was told were coming would be new iMacs. They said they should know something by Thanksgiving. Cool. So when I had to go find the IT person to ask about something this past week, I thought I’d ask about the computers, too. They’re already here. So my only fight now is making sure they load Windows on these computers. It’s going to be a heck of a fight because I don’t have too much clout around the district. But I keep reminding people that I teach a business class and that it’s kind of hard to teach them about business when they can’t have the same thing in front of them that a majority of businesses do. That, plus the fact that the computer lab for business classes at another campus are set up the same way. We’ll see how that fight goes. They new computers should be set up by Christmas.
At the same time, I was told that a new printer was ordered for my lab. To most people who would read this, you probably wonder why it’s such a big deal. Well, literally within the first two weeks of school, the printer in my room was removed to another room over. Once I finally tracked down the principal, I was told that it was decided I needed a better printer since I had an older one. The one thing I never said to anybody is “Why in the hell did you take the current printer out of my room before the new one got here?”
I was accepting of the whole ordeal because it sounded like the new printer should be here soon enough. Time went on, and I still had no printer. The one they had taken out of my room went to a non-computer lab. Yes our school is doing a 1:1 program with laptops, but these kids hadn’t received their laptops yet. So, once again, no reason for the printer to not be in my room.
Finally, I get told by a colleague at a football game one evening that he saw six new printers that had arrived in the front office that day. Hallelujah!!! But two weeks later I get told that all those printers had already been spoken for. However, there was one put in an office that they thought would be too small for them, and I would get it once their bigger printer came in. But the window for that came and went, and still I had no printer.
A few weeks later, my department head catches me in the hall before school one morning and asked me if I needed any ink or paper for my printer. I tell her the short version of the story of how I have no printer in my room. She acts surprised about the fact I never told her about the situation and then proceeds to tell me that she will get right on it. More time goes by and nothing.
So, I will complete a semester in a computer lab with no printer. I was told at one point by the principal during this semester concerning various different issues with computers and the printer that “a good teacher always has a plan B.” Funny thing is, I asked for help from the principal whenever I was already on plan L. There was no need for that printer to move until I got the new one.
The final new thing that happened on this one particular day was I found out they put a new snack machine in the teachers’ lounge. It didn’t look all that different from the old one. However, the reason this is such a big deal is because the original one had all of us back in the early part of the 20th century snack machines. We had to have coins. It didn’t take paper money. This is a big deal to those of us that carry around plastic and paper. But they have replaced it with a machine that takes paper money. Now we’ve caught up with the previous generation of this technology (when most of these machines have credit card swipers now). And they had beef jerky in the machine. Cool.