The Sharpest Thing In A Classroom Should Be Minds

, , , , | Learning | October 23, 2020

It is the early 2000’s, and I am working for a consulting firm that has a lot of contracts with local school systems. I do everything from server setups and networking to replacing the mouse balls the kids are constantly removing to play with.

I have a ticket that a classroom PC is not working on the fourth-grade hall. I wait outside the door until the teacher stops talking, then stick my head in and ask if I can fix the PC real quick. It is on the other side of the room by the windows and out of the way, so I go over and quietly try to diagnose the problem.

I start running through the usual suspects and find the problem pretty quick. The door off of a 3.5″ floppy has come off and jammed in the drive. Back in the old days, this was a fairly common issue, especially in computers that had a lot of traffic from different users all day.

The problem is that the kids would usually try to fix it themselves, and end up bending the door so that it was opened up even wider, which made it a pain to get out. Luckily I had the perfect tool for this, a 5″ lock-blade knife that would let you get up under the bent part, then slide back to hold the door closed while you fished the whole thing out. Worked like a charm most of the time and was really quick.

You have probably already figured out the problem here, and I stress that I had never thought about this. I didn’t work in the school rooms much. I was a server guy and my time was usually more useful somewhere else, so this was kind of a side-deal when they didn’t have anything more important for me to do. So I reach into my bag, pull out the knife, pop it open in one motion while heading for the floppy drive.

Behind me, I hear an audible gasp. I turn around and the whole room is staring at me. It slowly dawns on me that I just pulled a pretty mean looking knife on over twenty ten-year-olds.

I apologized to the teacher and explained that this really was the best tool for fixing this particular problem, but that I probably should use the second-best tool from now on. Lucky for me, this was a really rural school, so the teacher just laughed and let it go. I didn’t even get sent to the principal’s office!

I can’t help but think that with all the tension we seem to have these days, that a similar mistake might not get laughed off anymore.

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