Inspiring Confidence

Our school is filled with the usual collection of technophobes and technophiles, as you might guess by me writing a blog, I am one of the latter.  The way of things these days is to rely more and more on technology.  Every year, we get something new from the technology department.  It’s been SmartBoards, and Projectors, and Document Cameras, and internal email systems, etc…  Every time one of these new things comes around, there are some folks who complain that it will be terrible and some who hail it as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

This year, our new thing is that we switched to a program that handles all of our grades and attendance online.  The first day it worked flawlessly.  Everyone felt pretty good about it.  Just as the pessimists predicted, though, the whole system failed on the second day. For the first three hours of school, we could not access the online system.  If a teacher had not printed a class roster the previous day, he or she would have no idea who was supposed to be in the classroom.  On top of that, apparently, the counselors did not have paper copies of the students’ schedules, so a student who had forgotten his schedule came to the office to get a new copy and…they couldn’t help him.  Funny.  And sad and scary.

Of course, all of the people who had claimed that the new system wouldn’t work and would be terrible walked around all day with big grins and knowing smiles.  They had been proven right.

It makes me sad to see these people.  Most of the time, they walk around complaining about how bad things are going to be.  The only time they seem to be happy is when things go wrong and we have problems.  Then, they were proven right, so they are thrilled.  They probably would laugh on an airplane as it plunged into the sea, saying “I told you so.”

On the other hand, whoever made the system fail should feel bad.  Of all times for it to fail, the first week is a pretty bad time.  This is the time to step up and prove how great your new system is.  I wonder if the person has any idea how bad he or she hurt morale.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.

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3 Comments

  1. gls said,

    August 30, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Isn’t it fascinating that such people are teachers? Isn’t this what we, as teachers, are trying to teach our students NOT to do? Don’t we always tell our students, “Don’t prejudge,” and “Don’t let an initial setback turn you off to the process altoghter,” and “Initial apprehension about the difficulty of a new task shouldn’t dominate your life”? Students remember what we show more than what we tell.

  2. renaissanceguy said,

    September 3, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I obviously appreciate and use high technology. However, the cynic in me always resists the folks who say that a certain new technology will solve all our problems and run flawlessly. I hate to think of how much time I waste in trying to figure out what has gone wrong with some bit of electronic gadgetry.

    My motto is hope for the best but plan for the worst.

    It is inexcusable that key people at your school did not make sure that there were back-up copies on paper of all needed information.

    Perky optimists love to bash pessimists, even when it turns out that they were actually realists and the optimists were starry-eyed idealists.

  3. September 3, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Good motto, RG.

    I certainly don’t mind pessimists who actually PLAN for the worst and are prepared for it, but it’s the ones who expected bad things to happen, but didn’t prepare for it that irritate me. How does it make your life better to expect bad things to happen and then suffer alongside the starry-eyed idealists?


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