Friday, 24 March 2017

What do you call your computer?





My how times have changed.

Back in the early 1990s I was newly single, and working full time and raising my wonderful girl and clambering onto the roof with a pail of bituminous shit to cure leaks and my fear of heights. Teachers beavered away writing report cards by hand, and I can recall clearly one particularly shitful interim note which required every teacher of a kid to write a line on the same bit of paper and woe be tide anyone who made an error cos then EVERYONE then had to do it all over again. More than 200 times I held my breath and hoped it'd be OK and then I crossed my fingers that the other teachers were OK too. Of course there were some fuck ups - some of them mine. Oh Well!

Computers were new fangled things, and whilst we could all see the advantages of 'em we could not have even begun to imagine just how integral to our daily lives they would become.

In the beginning I just got excited cos it meant that the computer might be able to write my name and the date and the subject on every report card and with over 200 of the suckers to do, that was an enormous time saver for me.  If I happened to be teaching a whole year level for 1 lesson a week, I could have maybe 400 reports to do. I fucking hated writing all that repetitive shit. One year I got the kids to all head up their own Report Cards. Well why not huh? I filled in all the important stuff and wrote an individual progress comment. Yeh I got into trouble Oh Well.

I did not envisage a time where every room would have a smart board and the teachers would carry a computer under their arms or in their pockets and that anyone at any time would be able to pull up the lesson plan and goals and objectives for every minute of every day in every subject. How fucking organised is that! And if I am honest - how boring for the teacher? Everyone doing the same thing at the same time in the same way, I would rather have to go foraging for nits in school kids' hair and be paid by the egg. Yeh I have never been good at doing what I am told.

And if you think this is far fetched or Sci-Fi then think again. My girl and I trotted off to the Grandie's school this week for what we thought was gonna be a 'What the kids are allowed to do on their school computers' chat. Yep, every kid has a school computer - all exactly the same, for the princely sum of $750 rental for the year. But that's a whole other chat.

Instead, we were told that every lesson in every subject was outlined on the machine and that parents are meant to go through all this and then set tests and exams and revision all with the help of some whacko programme and it seems the kids are meant to knuckle down for hours at a time EVERY day after school.

And bugger me we still don't know if they are allowed to download M rated games on the school machines, and what about Facebook or Instagram,  which is why we went along, Fuck it!

I am not sure when teachers became computer technicians or when parents doubled up as teachers or when the school day was extended to infinity hours, but I don't think I like it.

My name for this machine would not be a genteel type of name. It wouldn't be Emma or Darcy or Heathcliff. It'd be Kardashian or Toe Jam or Mammogram Squeeze or Putin. It'd be harsh and hateful.

It's Health Insurance renewal time here in OZ and so we trooped into the Medibank Private office yesterday, cos the  time on hold on the phone was enough to make me want to pull out my own teeth.

They have JUST rolled out OSCAR.

OSCAR is a pain in the arse, cos OSCAR is not even capable of doing simple calculations like dividing a number by 12.

The Service Gal was ripping out her hair. She could do the maths, Stevie had already done the maths and poor old OSCAR was just fucked. He couldn't work it out. Service Gal had to go in and override OSCAR -  twice! Oh dear. - poor thing I hope he didn't have a hissy fit and a melt down.

I was left wondering what OSCAR was short for:

Overhwhelmed
Seriously
Constipated
Awkward
Reprobate

Whatever it is, it surely is not anything pleasant, and that's a shame cos OSCAR does indeed sound like a cool helpful dude. I don't think I have ever taught an OSCAR I didn't like.