Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Kev, Live from School? Not These Days...

Today was a totally pointless day of teaching. They decided to do an early dismissal, even though it wasn't listed in the original calendar (in fact, I didn't find out about it until I heard it on the announcements at one of my schools just over a week ago). Perhaps we should have just had this day off...which means we might as well have had the whole week off like we did a few years ago. The teachers I spoke with said not much learning was going on during these two days anyway.

So I raced over to my second middle school, since they decided to slice a little bit off every class (unlike the first one I went to, where the morning classes were normal length and the afternoon ones were cut short). When I got there, I found out that one of the two beginners had to leave in five minutes for an eye appointment and the other one wasn't there at all. Neither of them contacted me about their situations, so....free money for Kev. But now I had time to kill, and I'd forgotten to bring the newspaper in with me. Ahh, the computer in the band office was open--that'll work.

Like most everyplace else, I'm sure, the district has been blocking more and more stuff on its computers lately. It's not just "offensive" material anymore; it's almost reached the point where anything that could be considered fun is taboo. They started blocking web-based email last year, which makes it a major inconvenience for non-district employees like myself to get anything done. But at least I could still visit some of my favorite sites and update my blog...

Oh, wait, scratch that last one. That's right, Blogger can no longer be accessed at school. It's considered a "message board or club" now, and those aren't allowed. I used to have fun doing the occasional "Live from School" post (an idea I got from some of my friends back in their high school webmastering days), but I guess those are no more. I can't quite see what's so subversive about Blogger, but then the ban on web-based email makes no sense to me either. (Oddly enough, however, individual blogs can still be accessed with no problem most of the time.)

So I decided to surf some of my other favorite sites, and some of them were blocked as well, also under the "message boards or clubs" category. Dave Barry's Blog was off-limits, surprisingly. Thankfully, I still was able to read Lileks and Instapundit or I would have gone crazy from boredom.

Oh yeah, and the period after that, another kid skipped without calling. That puts the "free money for Kev" total for the day up to $45.00; nice work if you can get it.

And now I'm on a little break before combo and big band, and then I'll be off to UNT to hear Benny Golson with the One O'Clock. Review to follow, of course.


Anonymous said...

Fun sites are blocked because teachers are not able to monitor all the student's internet usage, and the district does not want students on "funsites" when they should be working on their English papers, etc...

Yet another casualty due to the increasing student teacher ratios - you just cannot monitor 30 kids in a computer lab by yourself and teach at the same time (plus - some teachers are lazy and just do not want to work that hard...but that won't ever change, so no point to rant on that one).

Jim P.

Kev said...

Oh, I know what you're saying, Jim; obviously, some things that are never appropriate for school have to be blocked. But...web-based email? Blogger? That's a bit much.

Besides, I was using a director's computer in his own office, a place where students aren't allowed to be unaccompanied. You'd think there could be different levels of filtering for those computers from, say, a student lab.

I'm just glad I don't depend on a computer during the day, or I'd never get things done under that setup. I suppose someday I'll have my own laptop and all the offices will have wi-fi...oh, wait, and then I woke up. ;-)