Retort

Teacher: “When do you think they’ll finally make computers that never go wrong?”
AngryTechnician: “The same time they start making children that never throw up in your classroom.”

Teacher: “You must feel like your job is never-ending with all the things that go wrong.”
AngryTechnician: “You get a new class of kids every year, surely yours is never-ending too?”

Teacher: “Don’t you ever get sick of working with computers?”
AngryTechnician: “Don’t you ever get of sick of working with children?”

One of the odd things about working in a school is that the majority of the staff all have exactly the same profession, and almost all of them enjoy their job and view it as a career (except for the rare miserable git who is only still teaching because they’d otherwise be unemployed). Sure, there are specialist teachers for different subjects, but they are all teachers, and that makes it very easy for them to relate to one another. This mutual understanding breeds a mentality where they forget that it’s quite normal not to understand some of your co-workers jobs. They look at the rest of us with puzzlement, and begin to assume, even if only subconsciously, that everyone else in the school who isn’t a teacher must be unhappy in their job, or find it very frustrating.

Therefore, I must look at them and long to be a teacher. My job must be horrible, and be absolutely nothing like teaching in any way. In fact, there are some interesting similarities. We both spend all day attempting to convince our charges to behave and follow instructions – charges that are prone to sudden strops without warning, produce large amounts of hot air when there are more than a few of them in one room, and generally respond badly to physical violence (as much as we would wish otherwise).

For the first 2 years in my last school I was asked if I wanted to become a teacher on an almost fortnightly basis (often by the same people). It only stopped after I started responding, “No, I hate children. Why else would I work in a school?”

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.

16 responses to “Retort”

  1. roach says :

    Just great :) Same things in “my” school (im an angry technician too ;))

  2. CAM says :

    Teachers generally don’t get tech jokes either. :D

    “Why has my Mac lost the wireless key? I mean…why would it even do that?”
    It’s a computer, it wants to be annoying.

    She didn’t get the humour. Or the key since I wasn’t given it in the first place. xD

  3. TheCrust says :

    Teachers often don’t share the IT staff’s sense of humour I’ve found – that can be both a great curse and a great gift (yes, I know one is not meant to “play” with the teaching staff – sometimes you have to make your own entertainment).

    One example that sticks in my mind occurred in the run up to the general election earlier this year. I was asked “how do I get this euro symbol on my keyboard working?” by a language teacher.

    My instant deadpan retort of “Vote Lib-dem” delivered over the shoulder as I walked past without even breaking stride probably wasn’t what she was expecting.

  4. ICT_Tech says :

    Our jobs would be so much easier without the ‘users’ and all ID:10T errors and all the PICNICs :-D

  5. Tom Newton says :

    Yeah, perfect computer requires perfect user – and i’ve never met one (though some rare techies think it is them. They’re wrong).

    ICT_Tech: Don’t forget the dreaded PEBKAC error (Problem exists between keyboard and chair).

  6. korifugi says :

    I also find that teachers often have no concept of the fact that many IT staff work through the six weeks’ holiday, and they act with genuine surprise to find you’ve been in most of the time.

    Usually their question is “What do you do?”

    My answer is “Well, you can get loads done without having to deal with whiny spoilt little b*ggers – on the plus side, there’s also no kids in”

    They often don’t realise the true meaning of my reply…

  7. thommck says :

    Great article.
    I get “Wow, how do you know how to do all this stuff, it’s amazing”
    Erm… I studied it?!?

    • tombull89 says :

      Or, more commonly, having to do the same task over and over so often it would be impossible to forgot it (such as password changes and checking computer’s aren’t set to mute.)

      And some of the time, I don’t know it. Google is the IT Tekkies friend.

  8. Giles says :

    Brightened my Friday this post.

    Cheers :)

  9. ShizzleMyDizzleDazzle says :

    @korifugi
    Is that not ONE the most annoying things teachers say?

    Teacher: So, what have you done in your 6 weeks off?
    Tech: I don’t get 6 weeks off – I work for a living.
    Teacher: Oh yeah. So, have you had a good 6 weeks?
    Tech: What, with no kids, no teachers and nothing being broken? No, it’s been hell!

    ;-)

    • FobbedOff says :

      @ShizzleMyDizzleDazzle
      My guess is they play with us in the same way we play with them. It’s the control freak in them that gets me with statements like “I need ‘Some weird 16 bit program written by an enthusiastic teacher 10 years ago’, and I need on my classroom PC for the next lesson.”. They don’t consider “No.” as a possible answer. Then you have to explain all about multi-user environments, security, priorities, etc.

      “It works for me on my computer at home, why can’t you install/allow it here as it’s affecting teaching and learning?” is a particularly annoying phrase as the implication is that you don’t care, when in fact you are protecting the greater majority from bizarre unreliable software or transitory personal websites.

  10. Gerard Sweeney says :

    I’ve often made it quite plain that I do not wish to be, nor could I ever be a teacher.

    I simply don’t have the mindset for it. Or the patience. While it’s true that our line of work does require a(n awful) lot of patience, it’s a different kind. I frequently work alone so can often get away with the occasional strop perhaps more suited to one of my twin 3 year old boys, or outbursts of bad language not at all suited to them :)

    Most of the Staff in here are aware that if it’s a holiday of more than 2 days, I won’t get it – because they’ve asked me in the past. They also get told why I make simple requests like removing all personal files from their desktops before the Summer because I’m going to be wiping and/or replacing every single one while they’re off.

    However it would seem I’m in the minority.. My fellow colleagues in my dept have similar tales of woe to those described above.

    Maybe we should post it as an amusing Badger Badger Badger animation – guaranteed every one of them would have seen it within a week.

  11. The Librarian in the Fridge says :

    If you think its hard being a techie in school, try being a school librarian!

    Questions you get asked.
    ‘What do you do when there’s no-one in the Library’
    ‘Do you only stamp books’

    At least there’s usually more than one IT techie in schools.

    • Gerard Sweeney says :

      More than one IT Techie in the school? Can I come and work for your local authority, please? It sounds quite splendid.

      (No offence intended, Sir/Madam)

      • AngryTechnician says :

        All depends on the size of the school, the level, and their budget. My previous school was ages 11-18, had 1000+ students, and a heavy IT emphasis. We had a technical staff of 4. We also had 2 librarians! (One fully qualified librarian, one not).

        My current school is smaller, ages 3-13, and a much smaller budget as a result. I am the technical staff. We also only have one librarian, who is part time and paraprofessional.

        • ScottishTech says :

          In terms of desktop/user support, we have 4500+ PCs spread over 7 high schools, nearly 30 primary/special/nursery schools and 9 technicians to look after them all.

          We’re often quite busy, oddly enough.