I have made no secret of my deeply held belief that computers are sentient beings out to get us. However I am a reasonable woman who realizes that computers are a fact of modern life, and like it or not, I have to deal with them, especially in my classroom.
My SmartBoard is really just a fancy monitor, and my gradebook is a computer program. For most of the first half of the year it seemed as if my classroom computer and I had reached a state of détente. We weren’t what you would call close allies. No, we were more like two wary entities, forced to work together for a common goal. We seemed to function with a minimum of friction until this week. Oh fool that I was! I should have seen the signs. My attendance page was taking ever so slightly longer to come up. I found myself putting off entering grades because I didn’t have the time. Then this week the computer showed its true ugly colors.
I had 12 set of grades that I needed to enter since this was the last week of the grading period. I had tried to enter grades at home but found that my home computer was in league with my school computer. The problem was that each page was taking an excruciatingly long time to load. You know that little twirling doo-hickey that is supposed to let you know that your page is loading? Well that little whirling dervish just kept whirling and whirling and whirling…you get the picture. So I decided that I would try to enter grades at school.
I needed to take down the Christmas decorations in my room and put up some winter decorations. I reasoned that as I waited five or six minutes for each page to come up, I could take down some glittery angels or whatever. Now I do occasionally exaggerate for the sake of humor, but this time I am not exaggerating. Sometimes it took a good five minutes or longer before the twirling doo-hickey stopped twirling so I could go on to the next step. Yes indeed.
Thanks to technology, I spent two hours and a half on a task that used to take me 10 minutes if I took a five-minute coffee break. I am sure all of you techies out there are ready to inform me that my computer isn’t out to get me. It’s just that my gradebook is in “the cloud” and because of the amount of information I have stored, and the fact that many other teachers are also trying to access their information, the service is a little slow. Right, so explain this. I have arthritis which makes getting up and down from a chair a little difficult. And I wear bifocals so I have to sit down to type in assignments and grades or else I can’t see what I’m doing. The majority of the pages took an eternity to load, but ever so often, and with no discernable pattern, a page would load almost immediately. It would take just enough time for me to be halfway out of my chair.
Finally today, when our head practitioner of the dark computer arts came to check it out, my gradebook pages popped up immediately. Can there be any doubt that my computer was taunting me? But human beings don’t fret. We still have the upper hand. It doesn’t take much effort to pull a plug from an outlet. (Cue maniacal laughter.)
School resumed on Jan. 3. On Jan. 11, the second-graders received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. The second-graders were honored the following day with a traditional St. Mary’s “donut reception.” (We do seem to have a lot of donuts around here!) In about two weeks the second graders will begin formal preparation for First Communion.
The highlight of the year for our sixth-graders is going to Glen Helen. Glen Helen is an outdoor nature learning center. The students and their teacher Mrs. McCoy will leave for Glen Helen on Jan. 17 and return on Jan. 20.
The Science Fair is scheduled for Jan. 27 with students from grades 5-8 participating.
Catholic Schools Week begins at the end of the month. The celebration opens at the weekend Masses on Jan. 28 and 20 and continues until Feb. 3.
Until next month, here’s wishing that all the computers in your life treat you kindly.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.