Sometimes I feel sorry for them
We have a supplier who provided us with a language lab a few years ago. For those not closely following the hot topics in Modern Foreign Language education provision, a language lab is a room set out with a centralised playback and recording system that, amongst other things, allows an entire class to listen to a recording privately and each record their own individual response.
Ours is a relatively old system now; the newer ones are ever more computerised and much fancier than ours. They also have the advantage of being fully functional, which ours is not.
Last May, the supplier, who shall remain nameless, accidentally broke the entire system during an upgrade.
They have been trying vainly to fix it ever since.
Federico, who has been valiantly struggling to co-ordinate this supplier’s bumbling for many months now, will almost certainly be chomping at the bit when he reads this, eager not only to name and shame them, but vent profusely (with several colourful and uncharacteristic expletives) about the outrageously long time it has taken for almost no progress to be made on the issue.
The thing is, I feel a bit sorry for the poor technician they keep sending out to try and fix it.
He seems like a perfectly nice guy, and it’s clear that although he does the support for a lot of these systems, he is genuinely baffled as to why this one keeps defiantly refusing to work. I think he and an occasional colleague have replaced almost every single piece of hardware in the room by now. I’m pretty sure he’s also out of his depth by now, as the last couple of visits he’s made have heavily involved remote support sessions with the developers of the software that runs it (who, incidentally, had him try something on the last visit that completely wrecked part of the system). If I were him, I would probably be absolutely sick of coming to our school and something has to be said for the fact he still turns up.
I’m not sure when he’s due back next, or if he’ll have topped himself before that date arrives. I do know that he should probably start wearing body armour in case Federico snaps and tries to beat him to death. I have visions of walking into the lab to find him standing over the pulverised body of the engineer, suit bloodstained, breathing heavily with a shoe in one hand and a crazed look in his eyes while his bare sock slowly soaks up blood from the floor beneath him. I wouldn’t mind, only that we’re running out of places to hide the bodies.