Saturday, November 6, 2010

Screen Play

So, the craziness that is the first grading period in second grade is officially over. I've decided to move on to my Next Big Goal for my classroom: updated technology. (Those words make you want to take a nap, no?)

I've had a document camera and projector for about 9 months, that have sat lonely and dejected in their boxes. (These pieces of equipment attach to my laptop so we can use all manner of online educational resources. And watch movies about Lilly and her Purple Plastic Purse and Giving a Mouse a Cookie.) calls to the district technology people are mostly a lesson in frustration. Their first words, however jokingly, are always, "GET RID OF YOUR MACS". Dear District People: We are a Mac campus. Get over it.

I have not been able to lure anyone into my classroom from their downtown portals, but two days ago a fellow teacher came in after school and volunteered to do the job. AFTER SCHOOL. She is very tech savvy and, more importantly, is kind and gentle with those of us who are not. She makes it all sound very simple, and gives me confidence that I will not destroy the world with techno-fiddling on my computer. (I'm convinced the damage I would do would be a felony and not a misdemeanor. This may help you understand my reluctance to attach cords and electrical toggles.) She also says very helpful things as she works like "Don't use this button" (NO! I will NEVER use that button!) and "Look how this fits in right here! It needs to stay here." (YES! FOREVER! I will NEVER move it.)

She completed the job in minutes, and heaven shone on my little corner of technology. I'm pretty sure Disney cartoon animals scampered behind her as she left my room, all the while singing amidst twinkling lights. And after she left? I turned the machines off, tried to turn them back on again all by my bigself and... THEY WORKED!!! Oh, the technology that can now take place in my second grade room.

But wait; there's more: I immediately emailed my principal and asked for a screen to be installed in my room. The next day at 9:30 am, district men with ladders and drills were in my classroom with a screen.

I am going to overlook the fact that they arrived in the middle of my reading period. And that drills can be quite noisy. And drilling into concrete walls is very messy. Add that to the fact that my 18 seven year old best friends acted like they'd never seen a ladder or drill in their lives, and you'll probably understand very little actual reading went on. (It's a student holiday on Monday. Perhaps they'll catch up then.) BUT: We were getting a screen!

I explained what I needed to the district men: a screen that would work and roll all the way back up each time. (Oh, you laugh. I take nothing for granted in my classroom any longer.) This was necessary because if it didn't, it would hide parts of the alphabet and the Word Wall Words. And my students would exit to third grade not knowing how to write V, W, X, Y and Z or spell who, what, when, where, why and were. Essential Information.

No problem, these sweet workers promised! After an hour, they were done. (Yes: One. hour.)

I took the hopped-up-on-drill-noise-and-ladder class to lunch and came back to try out my new technology and screen. I pulled down the screen and...(You've probably already guessed this is not going to turn out well. May I tell the story anyway?) pulled out to reveal red capital letters that said "STOP!" and the screen was sprung for all time. On closer inspection, I realized it was probably original to the building in 1950, and the teacher's name written on it has been retired lo those many years.

Drat. I called the office to see if our Secretary in Chief could stop those men and send them back. They did return at 3:00 pm to tell me they weren't sure about a new screen. Maybe there was one someplace in the district warehouse. Right next to the box from "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

All I want to do is teach my kids. Teach.My.Kids. I have shown great restraint in not already sharing about the carpet assigned to my room. I have wrestled with it since the beginning of August. It is much too large, so I have to fold it to make it fit. The students and I have tripped all over its fold and wrinkles for 3 months. I was repeatedly told I should not fold it, but can not cut it. After the third child tripped over it last week and slammed into a desk, I enlisted another teacher to help me drag it out to the ramp. Where it remains. May it rest in peace. And carpet time is now hard floor time.

You probably came here for a witty little post and a small chuckle. Instead, you ran full force into My Crazy.

A screen and a carpet. That is what I need. And I'm going to trust the process and believe I'm getting them. Soon, even.

But tech support: we are still a Mac campus.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Oh, it does make me laugh and flashback to some classroom equipment struggles I had of my own and my lack of fondness for the bureaucracy that is also known as Administration!