The scene: After trying to get online for 5 minutes a student realizes the machine is unplugged from the network. The student then hands the unplugged end of the network cord to the teacher. After examining it for 30 seconds or so the teacher shouts across the room."Hey IT Guy, do you think this has something to do with the problem"
This is not actually a teacher story but it is from a school. A secretary shared this parent interaction with me this morning.
Parent: Hi, Secretary my son is sending me texts from the bathroom.
Secretary: Ok, what do you want me to do? Take his phone away?
Parent: Well, no……he has diarhea.
Secretary: Ok……..that is too bad. What would you like me to do?
Parent: I would like you to tell him to come home.
Secretary: I can’t go in the boys bathroom.
Parent: Oh yeah, I will text him and tell him to come see you
Secretary: Ok, please ask him to wash his hands. Thanks.
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
Secretary: 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: Why?
Secretary: 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
Teacher: I want my computer on the other side of the room
IT Guy: There is no power over there
Teacher: Why not?
IT Guy: I don’t know, I didn’t build the school
Teacher: Can you put one in?
IT Guy: I am not an electrician
Teacher: Can we hire one?
IT Guy: It would be kind of expensive…..why do you want to move it?
Teacher: No reason…..I just wanted to try it this year
IT Guy: Of course……. if you would like me to knock down some walls for you as well just let me know.
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.