Thursday, September 24, 2015

Teaching Like It's 1995

This school year, our principal has decided to make big changes to the advisory class system developed by our former principal.  It would be tedious to tell you all the details, but let me summarize by saying that it now takes a great many meetings and a great deal of what would be called paperwork if we were using paper instead of Excel spreadsheets.  Thus far, it's unclear that we've accomplished much other than making the principal happy and the students grumpy.
One of the big problems has been taking roll.  Since the students are sorted on the gradebook attendance program by their "homeroom" advisories which they attend only on Mondays, there has been some kerfluffle about taking attendance the other days and getting it into the program.  For a couple of weeks, we tried using Excel, but it would not sort the students alphabetically, rather sorting them alphabetically under the name of the teacher to whom they were assigned for that week only.   (The assignments change every Friday.)
Finally, last Friday after a lengthy meeting wherein we tried to solve this and various other problems with the new advisory system, the principal  energetically announced that she had the answer: teachers would take roll on a paper, and an office aide would come around to collect the papers, return them to the counseling center, and the counseling secretary would enter attendance into gradebook from there.
I blinked.
Then I locked eyes with the only other teacher in the room who knew what I was thinking: the Spanish teacher, who, during the school year of 1995-1996, had been my English student.
As other teachers began to discuss this "new" idea, she and I both laughed, remembering.
Twenty years ago, only the office staff at school had computers.  Teachers had color-coded folders with a paper roll for each period.  We'd take roll on the paper, put the folder into a clip hooked to the wall by the door, and an office aide would make the rounds to collect roll each period so the counseling center secretary could enter it into the computer.
"Progress" had brought us back full circle to 1995.


  1. I can't help but wonder, is your principal against modern technology?

  2. Actually, she loves it. It's just that she's got us so twisted up in this system that the technology can't keep up, and we've had to go old school. Literally. :)

  3. I know it's been a while since I dropped by, but man did I miss a few good posts. I remember those days of hanging the roll out on the wall for the office aide to come pick up. I guess retro is more "in" than I thought.