The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My seven thousand pound electronic interactive whiteboard still doesn't work.

It's been a year, now, since it last worked. They decided to replace the old one, putting this one up where my normal whiteboard used to be. Being a teacher, I complained (we get so much practice, you know - we're superb at complaining), and was given an A1 sized whiteboard mounted in the corner, above the desk (immoveable), the computer (unworkable), and the coil of cables (irresistable for too-easily-tempted little eleven year old fingers). If you do all your board writing early in the lesson, on tiptoe, the cramping isn't not so bad.

Every time I bump into the Senior Mangler in charge of IT, he asks accusingly if my 'new' electronic whiteboard works yet. As if I've broken it or something. Not mentioning the gaping holes in the ceiling or the lock smashed off the door.
If I point out that I wouldn't know, as he's removed the software I need to use the thing from my user area, vexatious annoyance flickers from his eyes, down his nose, towards ... wait a minute - I swear he's blaming me for a network error.
It's utterly illogical, but the man thinks it's my fault.

I know more about computers than most people in school; via my CD-roms, I've trained over 17,000 student teachers in using computing as a tool to promote variant reading styles. I know for a fact the Man Who Blames Me isn't that sure how to switch his computer on in the morning.
But it's my bloody obstructive fault. Of course it's my fault. I'm the underling. Who else's fault could it be?

-- Have I reported the fault using the correct systems? Accusingly. Beady eyes. Brusque.

-- Only once every month this year, I admit.

-- Have you reported the fault using the correct systems today?

-- No - o - o ....

Theatrical sigh as he flounces off, still grumbling low threats over a shoulder at me, assuming I will follow to be made to repent my insubordination. I shrug, and start to walk home in the other direction, no longer willing to believe in the Network Technician Fairy.

On the way, I stop off at the supermarket to spend some of my own wage on pencils, biro pens, tippex, post it notes, board markers, highlighter pens, felt tips, manila folders, notepads, and little chocolate eggs to serve as prizes.

Seven thousand pounds, eh?