Or-Confessions of a twentieth century teacher teaching in a twenty-first century pandemic!
I am here to confess that I am about to commit a murder. The object of my slaughterous intentions is named Priscilla. Before anyone calls the police, Priscilla is the name I was forced to give my computer, because otherwise the students in my classroom thought I was yelling at them when I was actually venting it all on the technological bane of my existence.
I don’t ask much as a teacher, just some books, paper, pencil, maybe a blackboard? But over the years, it has slowly crept up on me that in order for this 20th century girl to survive in education, I have to learn something about those little impassive, Vulcan-like mazes with a keyboard and an attitude!
Very well; I sit through the computer training sessions, I listen to the techno-jargon, I scream a little inside, and eventually I learn enough about the current program to get by. And then do you know what happens? You guessed it! Some enterprising young mathematical and cyber wiz pipes up with, “Oh, you know how to do that? That’s obsolete; we have something much better now.”
Then, without so much as consulting me, a pandemic showed up. Can you believe it? It happened solely to make my life miserable, I’m sure. But it has forced a great deal of what a teacher does to go “remote.” “Remote teaching” is another term for “move over you 20th century dinosaur, there’s a new cyber-sheriff in town.” I took a computer class on remote classrooms and I learned about My Drives and One Drives and Google Drives and push button communication and scheduling meetings and posting assignments until I don’t know my Microsoft Teams from my Zooms…whatever happened to Skype, by the way? I understood Skype!
And that brings us to the vocabulary quiz from hell. I discovered that I could actually construct a multiple choice quiz on my online classroom and I was delighted…once I learned how to use it. Once the test was done, I was assured that it had automatically saved to My Drive. Then, I scheduled it to be posted for administration on Wednesday. It posted immediately.
NO, NO, NO Priscilla! I don’t want the kids to see it now! I want to schedule it for later! Where is the delete? Which button? Someplace is a delete! Ten minutes later, I finally hit delete, so it was no longer posted.
No problem, right? I can go to My Drive, where it’s saved and try to schedule it…not post it. Except I went to My Drive, and there was nothing there but a couple of empty files. No vocabulary test.
I wasn’t too unhappy; I probably inadvertently deleted it altogether. It happens, so hey, I re-wrote the multiple choice vocabulary quiz and tried again. I hit the button. NO NO NO, Priscilla! I wanted to schedule it, not post it now! I took another ten minutes to try and figure out a delete that didn’t wipe it out. I was unsuccessful, so another vocabulary quiz was sent into cyber-oblivion.
By the third test, my multiple choice answers were beginning to suffer. Option C: Who cares?, Option D: Priscilla sucks! I tried a third time to schedule and this time, nothing happened. Oh well, this one was saved in My Drive, I’ll go on. I put together some other quizzes and finally caught on to how I should schedule them to post later. Perfect! I’ll just go to my drive and get it and schedule it.
My drive did not have the Vocabulary Quiz from Hell. I don’t know exactly where it is, but I do know that I kind of hope it went back where it obviously came from. This 20th century teacher has taken My Drive on a trip around the bend! But only after I have murdered Priscilla!