The Slow Drip Drip Drip of Loss and Annoyance

The school where I’ve worked for 14 years is slowly but surely trying to remind me I’m not part of the group. It’s doing it through sanctions on technology.

When I first arrived at the school, every teacher was given a school laptop for their desk and a network password. The laptop I had was old and practically made of stone and wood but it let me print, store files on the server and use the internet.

For one year, when the school made an attempt to modernize beyond the Optical Character Recognition system it uses for final marks, we could even enter final marks from our desks via a school intranet. (Well, most people could, but the laptop I had was too old to use the software and I had to go downstairs to the computer room.) To make matters worse, the program was shockingly unintuitive and the company went out of business meaning there was no longer any tech support. The school, therefore, switched back to OCRs.

Then, one year we showed up and the laptops were gone. Full-time teachers had shiny new laptops but we were informed that part-time teachers would no longer have them. (Remember, I’m technically part-time and work AT the school not FOR the school.) Instead, three computers were installed in the office for the dozen or so part-time teachers to share.

Luckily, I was able to bring my own computer and use the network and printers. All was still good (and in English).

Then we got the new school and full-time teachers had shinier newer laptops and the dozen or so part-timers had access to eight laptops we were expected to share. I decided to use my own computer (to free up a school one for someone else.) Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that our personal PCs had been blocked from the main server. We could print and use the internet, but we couldn’t access files. One teacher couldn’t access the network at all. We blamed Linux, until another teacher proved he could connect with a Linux system.

Then last week, our personal PCs were blocked once and for all forever from the network. We can’t even print.

I was told that this is because the IT people are convinced that a rash of viruses is the result of personal PCs on the network. I have my doubts about this (I think it’s memory sticks and people with less computer savvy) and it all smacks of “Pay attention to ME! I’m IMPORTANT!” bureaucratic rock pissing by the IT people.

That said, the sanctions will be lifted once I prove my computer can have safe sex with the school network.

Until then, I’m living back in the age before even punch cards. (Luckily I have lots of fountain pens.) My other plan is to grab a school laptop and hold it hostage until sanctions are lifted.

edited 11/30/14 to fix typographical errors.

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