August 20th, 2003


People Watching

When we had a presenter who wanted to use the internet on the ICN room computer, she asked for help. The principal went up, so the rest of us just sort of ignored it... pretty soon, I noticed he was in trouble (just the way he stopped and looked at the screen, which we could not see.)

He looked up, then started talking to me, so I got up and entered her first few sites for her, and offered to hang around keeping the flow going, but she was okay by then. She didn't recognize the icon for the browser that was sitting off to the side of the screen. The principal told her to start it up, all she had to do was click on the icon.

When she showed the video, someone asked for the lights to be shut off. Nobody did anything, so I finally got up and shut down the ones in front, nearest where I was sitting. (Normally, whoever is in charge of presenting in the ICN room controls stuff like that for the front area. The lights in the back are shut off, but the ones in front not, as they are BEHIND the screens...) The superintendent was within arm's reach of the back of the room lights, but when he did nothing, I walked back there and turned them off, too. I think he did not realize where the switches were, as when it was time to turn them back on, he reached over and did it. (Yes, I have a real high GEEK score at school... You have to be geeky to know how to turn on/off the lights and use the web in the ICN room... I was TRAINED on how to use the fancy equipment down there the time I was teaching Spanish over the air, so, of course, nobody else could turn on/off the lights.)

LH was the official phone answerer... That happened three times. (She was not closest... but is the head of the remedial reading and the grant writing that goes with it, so of course, she's the one who needs to answer the phone. This is logical, right?) This is in a group of 35 people, including both the superintendent and the principal. (Principal was closest to the phone, but THAT is NOT a prestige job... If a principal or a superintendent is needed, THEY ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE, so get paged to the phone over the intercom...)

Interactions in a group are SO funny.

But, if you have a geek reputation, that is worth defending. I was trying to give the principal some information, and two other teachers were asking him about updating their grade program to show schedule changes... He told them something that was probably true for his program, but did NOT match ours. So I risked sticking my oar in and told them where the item was located on their program to sort of speed up the process so I could get my material given and move on.

About ten minutes later, the history teacher asked him the same question. I was at the far end of the hall, but he had me come up and tell the guy the same information. (He heard me give the answer, but did not evidently understand it, as his version of the program is different. It was an easy question to answer, but in his mind, it fell into the category of "geek required".)


Hot Enough For You?

School started Monday. We have hours from 8-4, and when the classrooms with thermometers registered over 100 degrees on the third floor, the administrators, whose offices are air conditioned, gave not one second of time up. We were not used to saving up the summer heat, were not allowed to leave windows/doors open so that the night air would flow in, so many of us were really feeling it by the end of the day.

Last year, when schools around us got out for weather-related reasons, too hot, too cold, icy, snow too deep, we stayed in session... we missed a grand total of FOUR HOURS all year to weather related causes... Very hard nosed...

So, everyone was quite pleasantly surprised when we received email to the effect that we'd be getting out at 1:30 and running a shortened schedule the rest of the week. The short classes on the first day are actually kind of nice. You don't have to start into a heavy lesson right off.

I had to gas up the Beemer, which meant driving to Centerville, Russel, Corydon, or Chariton, as Seymour does not sell diesel gas. I chose Centerville, as that has the best shopping and is closest to Seymour, although it is 25 miles back home. While I was in Hy Vee getting fresh bread to make into lunches, I bumped into a parent (normal).

"Are the classrooms hot enough for you?"

"I didn't hear today, but the English room was 101, and the science room 106 at 1 pm yesterday."

"What are those people thinking, starting school in the middle of August?"

"I'd rather wait, but they don't ask me."

Of course, we're supposed to support the school board and its policies... no matter what we REALLY think... I really think 100, 90, even 80 with high humidity, is TOO HOT. When I offered the then-new air conditioner from my old house to be installed in my corner classroom with NO cross ventilation, I got turned down, as it would use too much electricity, and then everyone would want one. What I REALLY think is that EVERYONE needs one, it is NOT a frivolous request, and it is time to rewire the building (we went without electricity for several hours several times last year, when the town was not having electrical problems...) and upgrade the wiring so we can have outlets around the rooms for all the electronic gadgets the modern classroom supports, and can ACCEPT DONATED electrical appliances that EVERYONE recognizes would make learning easier... When I have more than one thing going on in my classroom at one time, sometimes the people who need to watch the learning video can't as the TV and VCR have to be unplugged if another kid needs to listen to the listening activities on a CD. When more than one student needs to access the server at the same time, they can't, as we only have two connections (three computers). We use a power strip to plug in that many, and a science table to be able to plug in both the TV and VCR at the same time. Once when the Spanish class was cooking, we plugged in a hot plate to cook one thing, and used an electric skillet for another part, and BLEW THE FUSE for the whole floor. Oops!

When a kid puts his arm across his book, lifts it up, and has the print from the page ON HIS ARM, it is too hot. Copy machines use the heat transfer method, but that's not what I want to send kids home decorated with. (He could put a mirror under his arm and read the answers off...if any were found in that section of text.)