Updates To IT Syllabus Required, As Teachers Frequently Have The Least Knowledge On Computers In The Class

, , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2018

(It’s the early 2000s and my school has introduced a voluntary computer class. I am absolutely fascinated with computers, so naturally I sign up. I’m a bit confused why our domestic science teacher is teaching the class, but okay. Sadly, I soon come to understand that she probably got the job because she taught typewriting when that was still a thing. We immediately get off to a rough start. She asks the class what we need to build a functional computer. Eagerly, I put my hand up and start listing computer parts such as “motherboard,” “CPU,” “power supply unit,” etc., but the teacher shuts me down. She explains that, no, we need a mouse, a screen, a tower, and a keyboard. I protest that, strictly speaking, a tower alone would be a functional computer, and that there are also notebooks, but she won’t have any of it. She gives me a warning that she won’t tolerate goofing around and making up words. For the next lesson I plot the most evil revenge my geeky teenage brain can come up with, and flip the switch of the PSU on the teacher’s PC before class. Not being able to locate the problem, she has to end the lesson prematurely. As we do exclusively typewriting lessons, I drop the class a few lessons afterwards. Fast forward a few years. By now I’m an on-call IT support for a few schools to make some extra money. I’m called to my former school and, to my surprise, I meet my former teacher in the classroom that needs my attention. She explains that the computer didn’t start up after recess. I do my basic troubleshooting and, lo and behold, the switch of the PSU is flipped. Jokingly, I ask:)

Me: “Okay, who did this?”

(The students do give away the culprit by all turning their heads around to him simultaneously. The teacher is furious and sends him to the principal. I feel sorry for ratting him out and insist I accompany him and the teacher to the principal to give a factual account of what he did.)

Teacher: “He broke my PC! I want him formally reprimanded and a note sent to his parents.”

Me: “No, he simply pulled off the oldest and most benign computer prank in the books. He flipped the PSU switch.” *gesturing to it on the principal’s PC* “Really, if it helps to smooth things over, I will not bill you for this call. It really wasn’t a big deal. I’m pretty sure most people, and most certainly all of your students, could have fixed that if [Teacher] had asked them.”

Principal: “Okay. But, [Student], why did you even do this?”

Student: “I really just wanted to do a small prank. My dad told me a classmate of his did this and [Teacher] couldn’t fix it for half an hour before dismissing the class. I didn’t think she would fall for it again. I’m really sorry.”

Me: *having to stifle my laughter*

Principal: “Is everything all right?”

Me: “I’m sorry. I’m afraid this one is apparently partially my fault. I was that classmate. I was furious at [Teacher] because she ridiculed me in front of class, saying CPU is a made-up word.”

Teacher: *slowly realizing who I am* “Wait… You are… No! I never said CBU is a made up word!”

Student: “My dad actually told me this, too.”

Principal: *sighs* “Okay, I’m not going to send his parents a note or reprimand him. [Teacher], you’re free to give him an extra exercise as punishment. That should be enough.”

(I felt kind of bad for undermining her authority in front of the principal, but it was about time she realized that she was the person with the least knowledge about computers in the computer class she was teaching. From what I heard from students the next time I was there, it really did help. She now asks students what they want to learn, and lets students do presentations in between typewriting lessons. I hope she also learns a thing or two.)

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