I’ve heard it said a million times that I’m “lucky to have summers off” because I work in a school. What few people seem to realize is that the work goes on even when the kids are not in class.
Normally, I get “off” work about two weeks after the teachers. (The teachers are “done” the day after the students’ last day, though “done” is about as accurate as describing my summers as “free” or “off”.) During that two weeks, I’m expected to pack up and organize the contents of two labs and help the admin team “finish off” everything for the previous year and prepare for the next.
After that, I’m “free” to do what I want. For me, that usually means spending time getting my house back in order. (Who has time to clean during the month of May? Hardly anyone working in MY school!) I also try to take training classes from the district. It’s not required for my job classification, but I love learning. Plus, I really hate hearing someone in the school talk about something computer-related that I don’t already know. (I hate feeling dumb!)
However, this hasn’t been a typical year. Thanks to the taxpayers and the blessed bond that was passed months ago, we are finally getting new equipment to replace our 11 year old lab equipment. (Sad as it sounds, we had students who were younger than the equipment that they were using to learn about computers!) Because it’s such a big undertaking, the district decided that they wanted to swap the equipment over the summer. So I spent extra time rounding up the worst computers in the building and swapping the lab computers for them. Then I helped set up the new equipment, which included reimaging the hard drives so that they had the “latest and greatest” software load from the district.
The district allocated a whopping 7 hours for me to do this job. After a little math, I found that there was no way technically possible to get everything done in that amount of time.
But I’m a school employee, and just like everyone else in our school, I do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Also on my agenda this summer is a project that I’m doing for one of our Special Ed teachers. Every school has some sort of book room that’s separate from the library. The book room has books that the special ed teachers use with students who are behind in reading. In our school, the book room has been split for years. Some of the books are in one room. Some are in another. Others are in a corner of the library. This teacher was put in charge of unifying and organizing everything. It took her about 5 seconds to realize that she needed some computer-based way of keeping track of the books. It took about another couple of weeks of visiting schools throughout the district to see how they are dealing with the issue. Without exception, she found the solutions that were being used were either clunky, inadequate, or downright useless. So we got together and came up with some requirements for a whole new system. My summer project, which I rather took on myself, is to create a web-based application for her and our teachers to use.
What can I say? I’m a masochist! Besides, it will keep my programming skills fresh. And hopefully, it will help the teachers and children in the end. I’m a sucker for the kids and the teachers!
So I’m busy, even though I “have the summer off.”
This is not to say that there’s been no time for fun and relaxation. I’ll be back in a couple days to share what I’ve been up to in the way of relaxing.