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It’s been more than a year since I changed jobs, and yet at least once a week I still find myself typing admin usernames from my last school without thinking.

Delayed reaction

I had a truly awesome confession today. A double confession in fact.

We were called into a lesson this morning where about half the laptops in the room were not connecting to the wireless network. After about 5 minutes of getting nowhere with the problem, it became apparent the symptoms were not making an awful lot of sense. The teacher was valiantly carrying on with the lesson while Overshare and I scratched our heads a lot, but became slowly aware that the IT content of their lesson was not to be. Towards the end, the teacher came over to commiserate with us.

And then came the confession.

“Yeah… the same thing happened with these machines last Thursday.”

Now, by ‘last Thursday’, what he actually meant was ‘the Thursday before half-term’. Half-term being the sort of time when we have plenty of time in our schedule to diagnose problems like this without disrupting a lesson.

It only got worse from then. After the bell went, and I was leaving the classroom with one of the offending laptops, came the second confession.

“Oh I don’t know if this is related, but…”

I suddenly found myself concentrating on not cringing.

“… there’s no power to any of the equipment in the office next door…”

The Confession

“Oh, here it comes!”

This is a phrase that you might often hear us utter about 4 minutes after someone arrives with a problem. In they will slope, broken laptop in hand, with an ‘it just done broke’ story. We’ll tinker for a few minutes while the user projects an aura of serene confusion over what could have gone wrong, when suddenly something changes.

The guilt kicks in.

“Oh,” says our visitor, “I did this thing that might have had something to do with it…”

…and then it comes. Mid-diagnosis confessions are quite common. Just as we are about to zero in on the problem, the user will panic and suddenly confess that a few days ago they stuffed a banana into the DVD drive and attempted to cook it using the laser, and that their problem with the screen spurting smoke every time they open Word started just after that.

Curiously, staff are more likely to crack then students. I’m not sure whether this means the students are more ignorant of their own mistakes, or just better at covering them up.