When Technology Fails: Slice of Life



The kids looked up at the ceiling-mounted projector.

“The light’s red.”

“Is it supposed to make that noise?”

“I think it’s dead.”

Great, I thought. Just what I need.

This was a new one. I’ve had filter cleaning reminders, other teachers logged in on my projector showing their class notes to my classes, weird color problems (like the one I’m still trying to fix*) and bulbs that just sort of popped and turned off like my lamps do at home at the least opportune times.

This looked like one of those “least opportune times” to me. And I didn’t even quite know what happened except that it wasn’t working anymore.

So it’s a Tuesday morning. First period. I have five classes to teach today that could benefit from seeing what I had prepared for them on my computer. I can think quickly and make it work though. There’s always a Plan B. The low-tech option. The just-in-case option.

Today was one of those days.

I put my quick message in to the help desk and went on my way. Classes to teach and miles to go before I sleep and all that jazz. With or without the contraption hanging lifelessly from my ceiling, fan groaning instead of buzzing, a new orange light blinking.

The bell rings for dismissal at 2:35 and Nate, our IT guy, shows up with a little box and a ladder. He’s going to try changing the bulb, but has a purchase order ready Just. In. Case.


My heart starts to race.

I made plans with authors to Skype in next Tuesday. I set everything up in my room for that. Will I even have a projector for the kids to be able to see the authors they are talking to?

“Maybe we’ll have to move you to another room. No big deal. Let’s see what happens here. We might not need to order a new projector at all. And if we have to, we might be able to get it before then.”

I think I held my breath as he connected all the wires back up and held it as he turned it on.



The screen lit up.


Crisis avoided today.



13 thoughts on “When Technology Fails: Slice of Life

  1. I love a happy ending! We teachers are nothing if not flexible! I love the way the future plans and troubleshooting unfolded for you weeks into the future as you saw your plans for technology use unravel. But my favorite line, by far has got to be: “Classes to teach and miles to go before I sleep and all that jazz.” This line has depth, and attitude, and YOUR voice!

    • I liked that line, too. I’ve been looking for a way to throw that allusion into my writing for a while. Glad I could. But better than that, I’m that someone else liked it. :)

    • I think we all have days like this. Heading home despite plans to get a zillion hours of work done at school because my computer keeps kicking me out of programs here. I’ll go home and try to wrestle with it there on my computer. I can be my own IT person there. :)

  2. Seriously. We love the technology, except when it doesn’t work. Like tech can’t have a bad day! It happens and we try to remember what life was like before “it” was there. Glad you were able to go with the flow and have the low-tech options ready if needed. Hope your skype visits go without a – seriously? Nah, seriously, it will be okay!

  3. Technology is great, except when it isn’t.
    Today I arrived at school to find that our web filter was blocking anything it deemed “Social Networking” or “Online Communities.” Lovely.
    Hope for the best and plan for the worst, right?
    Glad you dodged the bullet today.

  4. I love it when a crisis is averted. Yea for wonderful IT people and luck! Hope that it continues to work for you.

    Glad you’re in for the Challenge, Cindy!

  5. Why does it always happen when you have a Skype event planned? It’s like those pesky projectors know…So glad everything worked out!

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