A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You think this machine is your friend*....

A while back our district moved to using a web-based grading program. It was going to be amazing! It was going to increase transparency! It was going to reduce the amount of time teachers spent on grades! It was going to slice, dice, and make julienne fries!

When this was initiated, one person asked what would happen if the internet would go down. She was laughed out of the room. Silly peon! The internet doesn't go down!

Then they forgot the little part about how teachers can't put any grades in when the server goes down.

Which happened five out of nine school days. Right before grades are due.

So maybe my friend used the wrong terminology, but she got the question right.

And guess what? They moved all the disciplinary records and all the information about student schedules to the internet, too! So now, at least the principals and secretaries feel our pain, too, because they can't do any discipline or even access where a kid is when the server goes down.

Did I mention it goes down a LOT?

So I am not staying at school until 5 (which by the way, we were asked to do once last year while they frantically tried to get the server back up in time for report cards to be sent out the next day). I do not take work home with me since I have my own children to bathe, feed, and monitor until I collapse into bed, and you can't access the grade program from home anyway.

So let's just say that there are a few grades that have not been entered. And today was my plan period, and guess what? The server was down again. So more grades weren't entered and I don't have a break tomorrow, either.

Technology is great. Until you actually have to depend upon it.

*-- line about a computer from You've Got Mail.

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At 11/19/08, 6:11 PM, Blogger Ms Characterized said...

I hear you. Dare I ask...is it School Loop?

At 11/19/08, 6:27 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Nope. Do you mean there's ANOTHER program this bad????

At 11/19/08, 7:32 PM, Blogger Kim Hughey said...

I love, love, love, our online grading program. It is called Gradespeed. It does everything it says it will do and more. Our district has been using it for 10 years and I have never had a problem with it. We have never had the servers go down for more than a couple of hours at a time. I can't imagine what I would do if I were in your shoes.

At 11/19/08, 7:59 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Did anyone care to ask about security? 'Cause, you know, kids are pretty good at hacking into that sort of system and, oh, I don't know, changing their grades or erasing their disciplinary records or....

At 11/19/08, 8:43 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Mrs. H, thou art a poltroon for rubbing my face in it.

Mrs Chili, why, our kids would NEVER do such a thing! They're as reliable as... a server?

At 11/20/08, 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it your school that is going down, your connection to the Internet, or the servers at the grading company?

That sucks. I teach technology in an elementary school and sometimes I think the teachers need more lessons than the kids.

At 11/20/08, 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's too bad. Like Mrs. H, I used Gradespeed for years, and now have a different program which I don't like as much, but which works just fine. Our referral system is online too, and saves me oodles of time. It's too bad yours doesn't work, because I actually do like ours quite a bit. I don't know what they do about security though, although we do an all-book printout at grade time so we still have a hard copy.

At 11/20/08, 6:47 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

We have an 80-million dollar program called ARIS. It's been in mothballs for years. Now it's going to work, though, and we'll be able to get a lot of information that, well, isn't worth nearly what 80 million dollars of space would give our overcrowded, highest-class-size-in-the-state schools.

At 11/20/08, 7:27 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Do you have OUR system? ESIS? Yes, it's insanely unreliable as well, especially around report card time. The techies poo-poo us when we ask the tough questions like your colleague. They say we don't know anything , that we don't want to use technology. In fact, we just know how it can betray us when we've planned a lesson around it and then we are forced to regress to chalk, to paper, to pencil.
BTW, good for you for not taking work home and putting your family at the forefront of your priorities. I feel the same way, although am guilty of hauling papers back and forth to school.

At 11/20/08, 11:18 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

lady, it's the entire school and usually the entire district server going down. And it stays down like Muhammad Ali is standing over it waving a gloved hand in a killing motion.

NYC and Mrs. T, that's not it either, but if we're not careful, we'll probably get one of those next.

My point is, we had an okay system, so someone decided to "fix" it. Noooowwwww it's better! The last program we had wasn't great, but at least you could work offline. This one reminds me of a doomed operatic heroine, like Carmen. Hack, hack! Wheeze, wheeze! I expire!

At 11/21/08, 5:25 PM, Blogger Ms Characterized said...

Easy Grade Pro was what we had, and our district decided to "fix" it, as your school did. Our servers are reliable -- it's the district who changes our system every two years that frosts my toes.

At 11/22/08, 7:38 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Oh, we had a good program, too. They decided to NOT consult anyone who would actually be using the program and change it to the one we have now.


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