Last year when I first met Andrew he brought me to tour the school. We walked into my English classroom called “EnglishVille.”
“This is your room” Andrew told me. He walked up and pushed a button. Nothing happened. “This is the smartboard -but it doesn’t work. So you won’t be using this classroom.” And we walked out of the room.
For months I acted as a migrant teacher, bringing my (broken) laptop from classroom to classroom to teach in the students’ rooms. Finally in late May someone came to me and told me “your room is fixed. Why don’t you use it tomorrow.” Middle of the week in the middle of the semester…why not?
Problems began immediately. I didn’t know how to use anything in the room – the sound system, the smartboard,etc. I had never taught in my own room so I didn’t understand things like “classroom rules” or “seating assignments.” We have since pulled everything out of the dust and built a shining classroom upon a hill. Except, you can guess, the computers.
The third week in my classroom, the internet was disabled for absolutely no reason. Andrew told me, “You’re running Vista. Vista is being discontinued so we’ll just turn the internet off.”
“Can’t you just install a new operating system?”
“No. We’ll just turn the internet off.”
Uhhgg. If they installed a new operating system, I could actually have a computer in English. Because I always use my computer in Korean so everyday tasks are made just a little bit harder and everything looks like:
Paint isn’t “paint” it’s 그림판 and if I want to print something it’s “인쇄.”
So I’m learning. But it’s taken me a year to get good at this.
So the internet was shut off. After the near suicide at my school we had to start taking attendance. Meanwhile my classroom management was…nonexistent. I really wanted to use an online program that gives points for behavior and takes attendance. Win win – but I needed the internet for this, obviously. So I demanded it.
They unhooked the desktop and installed an ethernet cable for my laptop. Basically the desktop could just collect dust while I just used my laptop next to it.
Wait, didn’t you say that laptop was broken? I sure did:
“I acted as a migrant teacher, bringing my (broken) laptop from classroom to classroom”
The battery is so dead that if you unplug it, it shuts off. Also the cord to plug it into the projector is messed up. It changes all kinds of colors like blues and reds and greens rather than showing the real color.
If you wiggle the cord around, it can sometimes, maybe, if you’re lucky: project the image. So I had a lot of tricks to wiggling the cord at exactly 43 degrees northwest but only if the room was exactly 21 degrees celcius on a Wednesday. You get the point: it was a little pisser.
Well then it finally crapped out and I was left with nothing. I asked for them to fix the cord and maybe if it wasn’t too much trouble if they could put a new battery in it. They said “it would be more expensive to fix your laptop than to just give you this one. But it’s a lot slower.”
They actually told me this. They basically admitted “couldn’t fix this POS so here’s this other POS. Good luck.”
So I tried the new computer for a while. It froze doing everything and classes were really REALLY really slowed down. My co-teachers were annoyed and students didn’t understand why I was so incompetent.
I thought… okay. Okay. The laptops don’t work. But that desktop used to work. It just doesn’t have internet. I would have to sacrifice the internet for a while to have functioning lessons.
But, somehow the computer had spontaneously broke. It wouldn’t even turn on. The mouse wouldn’t connect, the monitor wouldn’t connect. It would WHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR so loud it rattled the desk until you unplugged it. It. Was. DEAD.
Computers, computers everywhere and not one to use.
It’s six (6!) fully functioning computers.
Enough was enough. Every time I ask for help from the IT they wouldn’t really help. I had proposed switching one computer from the back to the front. Sacrifice one student computer for the sake of actually being able to teach. They said no.
Well, I say yes.
So with Chris’s help we disconnected one in the back. No even 5 minutes later we had a computer that connected to the projector, went online, connected to the printer, and was actually faster than my least-broken-computer. Wowza. I only feel like an ass for not doing this before. The only problem is when the IT people come in to install updates… yeah. I’m scared they’ll change it back. So the computer cupboards may or may not be locked permanently now.