Teachers are Pack Animals

In my time working at a school I have discovered that teachers are for the most part pack animals. Everything they do is in some sort of little group.  This is evidenced by the fact any time a teacher has a computer issue five other people will report it before the person with the actual problem. Sadly, the actual issue the other pack members report is almost never the real problem.  

It usually unfolds something like this:

IT Guy, did you hear Mrs. X is having trouble with their online gradebooks

that usually morphs into something like

IT Guy, Mrs. X can not turn on her computer because she has a virus

followed by the catch all diagnosis

IT Guy, the server must be down

This syndrome reminds of the famous Purple Monkey Dishwasher scene from the Simpsons.

The Power of “Need”

Based on my interactions, it appears teachers have a faith-like belief in the “Power of Need” similar to the “Force” in Star Wars.  I could tell a teacher something as simple and straightforward as “the internet is down and unfortunately you can not get online at the moment” or “sorry, but due to the power outage you can not use your computer at this time”.  In their minds facts such as these are no match for the Power of Need. Almost without exception, teachers will counter with “but I really NEED to check my email” or ” but I really NEED to work on my test”.  As far as I can tell, they seriously believe that if they decide they NEED something enough it will materialize.  The other possibility is that they think I shut off the power grid for the city in an effort to prevent them from checking their email for Borders Coupons.  This is actually a strong possibility because more than a few of the teachers I’ve encountered seem to think that they are the center of the Universe and/or their respective classes are the foundation for which all academia is built.  I have many examples to illustrate the Power of Need……here is one from last week.


Teacher:  IT Guy, the copy machine is out of staples

IT Guy: I know, unfortuantely there was a problem with the shipment.  They won’t be here till tomorrow.

Teacher: But I really NEED them now

IT Guy: Sorry, but we don’t have any

Teacher: But I NEED them for an exam that I NEED to give today

IT Guy: I don’t know what you want me to do

Teacher: The exam is very important.  It counts for 15% of their grade and I really NEED to get this done

IT Guy: Oh, I didn’t know how much you NEEDED the staples.  Here, take the three cartridges I have been hiding in my pocket for the last two days so I could listen to you people incessantly whine about your NEED for staples.

Email List in “the Computer”

Teacher: I have this list of emails I wrote down.  How can I get them in the computer?

IT Guy: You could type them.

Teacher: I don’t want to do that…..is there anyway else?

IT Guy: No, nothing that would be faster

Teacher: I thought computers could do that?

IT Guy: You might be thinking of magic wands.  They can do that.

Teacher: So, I have to type them.

IT Guy: Or call them on the phone…..your choice.

Teacher: Fine.

Computer Should be Able to Do that #2

Secretary: We have some holds to be placed on student accounts.  We need to block some users from viewing online grades till the hold is lifted

IT Guy:
Sure.  Send me a list

Can we just turn off the whole school and I will tell you who to turn back on?

IT Guy: What?  You want me to turn off the entire school?


IT Guy:

So I don’t have to make a spreadsheet

IT Guy:
You want me to block the entire school…..then reinstate almost the entire school………so you don’t have to make a spreadsheet?

Secretary: Yeah, the computer should be able to do that……. 

IT Guy:  Well it can’t…….but people that work in offices SHOULD be able to make spreadsheets. In the mean time I will email support and see if they can build a button that blocks 5% of users and functions via telepathy

Final Exams

When you create a Final Exam column in our online gradebooks you are prompted to enter the semester in which the exam grade should apply.  There are three options “1, 2 and Y”.  If the exam goes with the first semester you type 1, if it is second semester you type 2.  The “Y” is for “Yes”.  I have no clue what the “Y” is for but the teachers for whatever reason are enamored with it.

Teacher: Hey IT Guy, just wanted to confirm that when I put in the exam I choose “Yes”, correct?

IT Guy: No, why would you choose “Yes”.  What are you agreeing to?
Teacher: The Final

IT Guy: You think your gradebook is asking you to agree to a Final?
Teacher: Yes.

IT Guy: Well it’s not.  If you read the question that you are answering in the affirmative you would see it asks you which Semester this Exam applies.  Essentially your dialogue went like this” Which semester does this Exam apply to.” “Yes”
Teacher: Oh, so what is the answer?

IT Guy: Which semester are we in?
Teacher: Oh. Fourth.
IT Guy: We don’t have a fourth semester
Teacher: Oh yeah.  Sorry, second.
IT Guy: Great job.