The users

In most organisations, there are different groups of users that IT needs to provide support to. In schools, they can generally be placed into 3 distinct sets:

1. Students

The most numerous of our users, and, some would say, the most troublesome. Certainly they are the most mischievous (i.e., they cause the most deliberate problems), but generally they are reasonably IT literate and their mistakes are easy to correct. These are the users we most need to protect the system from, because they will push the boundaries the moment your back is turned, and before you know it the student file server is full again because the latest favourite game is to keep their entire (usually illegal) MP3 collection backed up to their network drive. At least they’ve learned to make backups.

LadiesMan calls them “the little cherubs”. I usually refer to them using an expletive.

2. Teaching Staff

In my book, teachers cause the most work. Teachers who are IT experts are by no means unheard of, but aren’t the norm. Even today, teacher training doesn’t include anything but rudimentary IT skills. Their most difficult queries come in the form of requests for new software, which frequently doesn’t work properly, but they won’t take no for an answer either because a) they’ve seen it working at another school, or b) the publisher “said it would install fine on a network”.

3. Support Staff

Administrative, secretarial, departmental assistants; anyone who isn’t a teacher or wearing school uniform falls into this category – and that includes the IT team. They have a wide range of IT literacy, with an equally large range of problems. These problems are normally the easiest to fix, but they tend to complain the most about them. Support staff in most schools feel put upon due to them being paid a lot less than the teachers, and often being arbitrarily handed the administrative ‘housekeeping’ jobs that teachers don’t want to do, so when an IT problem adds to their troubles, they want someone to know about it.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.