I'm not really quite sure how it all happened, but I started the school year merrily going along and doing pretty much the same things that I had been doing for the past eight years. I taught some teenagers in the big building with lots of books and lots of teenagers making lots of noise. I occasionally kicked teenagers out of the big building with lots of books and lots of teenagers making lots of noise.
Suddenly, one day I woke up and everything changed. Our Administration decided that moving forward on the technology front was going to be one of our major initiatives for the year. It's funny, but the things that I do in my job really haven't changed a lot, but all of the sudden it seems that the people that I work with suddenly think of me as Mr. Amtechgeek guy. Now, understand that being seen as the Amtechgeek guy isn't necessarily a horrible thing … It's just different … And very interesting … Very, very interesting!!! When people think that you are Amtechgeek guy, some people seek you out in the hallway to talk to you and tell you why they think that technology is wonderful. Other people seek you out in the hall to tell you why technology will bring about the end of the civilization as we know it. Yet others seek you out in the hall to have a good cry. This afternoon I had an crying encounter. I had a teacher approach me today to talk about technology and she cried. Now, understand that compassion REALLY is not one of my better qualities, but while I was talking to her I think that I really came to understand how disruptive technology can be to the way that people view themselves both professionally and personally.
I work at an institution that some might describe as a bit … err … "highfalutin." I can honestly say that my co-workers are some of the smartest people that I've ever met. I think that I'm decently intelligent, but there are times when I sit around the table at lunch and I realize that I'm a LOT stupider than the everyone else on the chow line. To put things in perspective, some of the schools that my colleagues graduated from (the non-ivy schools … you know … the state schools …) were on my "reach list" when I was in high school and looking for colleges. I remember my academic dean (who was pretty much of a dick) looking down his nose at me and saying, "Don't bother applying, they'll never take you." I found this incredibly insulting so I applied just so I could show him and … I got REJECTED like the fat pimply kid at the eight grade dance!!! Anyway … A lot of my colleagues graduated from those very schools and on top of that, a pretty good percentage of other colleagues have diplomas printed on parchment stained with ivy.
Anyway, this whole Amtechgeek thing has made me realize that a lot of the people on our faculty are not used to NOT being the highest performing, most knowledgeable, and smartest people in the room. Don't get me wrong, I generally find that there is very little "ATTITUDE" on our faculty, but people just know that they are smart. They've always done well in school and they've always been the best. I think that's what showed up in the teacher that cried in my office today. She WANTS to get on the technology bus, but she doesn't know how and it is extremely stressful to her. I made an appointment to sit down with her to show her some really basic things (like how to save pictures from her e-mail inbox, which is full, onto her hard drive so that her box won't be full). I'm hoping that she won't have to cry any more.
I mean … I think that most people that have ever used technology have wanted to cry over it at one time or another, but it REALLY isn't supposed to be that way, huh?