I told one of the teachers in the upper school that the next time I was training the upper school teachers, I would bring an air horn to the session.

I wasn’t kidding.

This week I’ve been doing a lot of training for the teachers, and by the end of the upper school session I was literally shouting over the noise after they got a little overexcited by my streaming TV demonstration. It’s often said that teachers are the worst people to teach, an opinion formed not just from accurate observation, but reinforced by the irony of teachers regularly committing the following sins for which their own students would no doubt suffer a brutal reprimand:

  • Not bringing a pen to the lesson.
  • Fiddling with something else on the computer when they are supposed to be listening to instructions.
  • Talking to their neighbour while I’m talking.
  • Not writing down the thing I told them to write down, and then inevitably getting it wrong later.

In the past, I’ve done refresher demonstrations of systems that have been met with the amazed look of someone seeing something for the first time, despite the fact I’ve shown them it twice before in the last 6 months. I’ve watched a teacher ignore a warning that fills half the screen in a yellow box, scroll down, and do the exact thing the warning said not to do. I swear that half the problems I ever deal with have their roots in someone not paying attention.

The air horn is now on my desk in the office. Next time I think my class isn’t paying attention, they’ll wish the most annoying horn they heard this year was a vuvuzela.

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.

13 responses to “Attention”

  1. Linda says :

    You have my sympathy, sometimes it’s like herding cats! But then usually when I do an INSET they didn’t ask to be there and there are lots of other things they’d rather be doing.

  2. Joe90bass says :

    I totally agree! Last week I did a session on data security, admittedly not very interesting, but as it was only 10 minutes long I would have expected the teachers to listen, or at least pretend they were! But no, a considerable number of them sat there talking throughout the session……….

    I’m guessing they live by “Do as I say not as I do!”

  3. Mr M says :

    I think the root of the problem is that *some* teachers are driven to a career in teaching because they are control freaks.

    Being taught, therefore, is something many perfectly decent, experienced teachers are actually not very good at.

    I hope my girlfriend doesn’t read this comment. Hahaha.

  4. Andy says :

    Well I perfectly understand where you are coming from AT … I would suggest as I do; Cease the delivery mid point, point them out and say something along the lines of “If you are not interested, or able to give the same level of respect to which you are expecting in a classroom, then please leave.” .. and then wait silently for about 10 seconds whilst looking at them,

    It really does bring them down a peg or two and gets their atention.

  5. Dale says :

    I found school administrative staff to be better students than the teachers. By a long shot.

  6. korifugi says :

    I remember once running a training and ‘laptop orientation’ lesson – during which the final user setup would be performed by the users to get them more used to the laptops. (It sounded a good idea at the time).

    Many a tale can be related from this, much along the same lines as above but the ultimate gem came from and english teacher:

    “Whats the difference between a colon and a semicolon?”

    All my colleague and myself could manage was a stunned silence – then again, this was the same staff member that somehow managed to cram an RJ45 into an RJ11 slot.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      Not quite as bad as that, but I once overheard an RE teacher ask another member of staff what Eid was.

    • TheCrust says :


      Ah. Happy days. The best one was a certain member of the technology staff gluing his laptop back together with araldite and hoping we wouldn’t spot it.

      Wait – or was it the maths teacher who thought he could leave pens in laptops when he closed them, then expressed complete amazement when we worked out how he was getting through so many laptop screens?

      Teachers definately make the worst students. Not just when it comes to sitting down and learning, but putting those lessons into practice.

  7. Spark says :

    I really dread inset days, I think they do it deliberatley …

  8. Gerard Sweeney says :

    Many (many) moons ago, I and a couple of tech colleagues were drafted into a thing called NOF Training – the theory being a few tech savvy teachers would then teach other teachers. I’m sure there’s some other media-friendly buzz phrase for this nowadays.

    The training was split over several sessions which were held on InService days – roughly 3-4 months apart.

    The idea being that between the sessions, they would practice the (REALLY basic) stuff we were showing them.

    I got to experience the same joy as many of you have described above. Not to mention the same 2 members of staff who at each session had forgotten their login ID and password.

    We all know that’s a popular pupil trick. Indeed, it’s why we use UMRA to allow certain members of staff to quickly reset pupil passwords.

    However – with these members of Staff, the date/time stamps on their files made it pretty clear that they genuinely had not been logging into the PCs outwith those training sessions.

    So you can imagine what the rest of the training session was like.

    As I recall, these 2 individuals were the heads of their respective departments.

    I think this strip sums it up nicely:
    Fun times.

  9. Andrew C says :

    Last time I tried to teach a bunch of language teachers to use Ranger Remote Control, I caught one of them sending emails. It was a really good lesson when I displayed her screen to the entire “class”!

    Kids are MUCH easier to deal with.

  10. Andrew Routledge (@BrachyPro) says :

    Reading this in a training session as I wait for the slow ones to catch up as one of my colegues talks loudly on his mobile to his girlfreind (Wife).

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