I cannot keep up with technology.
I teach high school English, which means that my darling wee charges must read BOOKS and discuss SHAKESPEARE and know the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’, as well as being able to hold a pen and occasionally put it to paper to create works of brilliance when the class set of laptops… which numbers seventeen… I have twenty six students… when the seventeen laptops don’t work.
They never ‘don’t work’ all at once. It’s a random ‘don’t work’ thing. We average ten working. On a good day.
Did I mention the TWENTY SIX wee mites destined to send me twitching to my grave over misspellings of ‘our’ and ‘are’?
My students get technology.
They have phones.
Phones that can google. Phones that can calculate. Phones that can GPS. Phones that can find the answer to the question “What’s the difference between a strait and a channel?” which I was asked the other day, and in the time it took me to scratch my head and ponder my dim memory of grade 10 geography a student sitting nearby muttered: “A strait is narrower”.
Me: “Um. How you know dat?”
Me: “You googled…?”
Her: (tucking the cell phone back into the dim recesses of her cleavage) “Yeah.”
Whatev. Please don’t store your phone there.
My phone can send and receive calls, and it can text. It can also take photos, but I don’t know how to download them, or send them to anyone. I also don’t know how to access my voicemail, or get rid of those weird little icons of tiny people and globes that are on my screen. Sometimes I touch them by accident and things happen and I am forced to turn it off, or pop out the battery to get back to the pristine face of my phone that has the only two items I truly understand.
I’m not good at texting, but I enjoy it.
I have that weird T9 thing that predicts the words you are typing, and sometimes, in my flurry of texting and talking and leaping over tall buildings in a single bound, I make boo boos.
My daughter: Mumma… pick up my meds for me please?
Me: Shaking them up tomorrow.
Her: Ok. ROFL. Don’t shake them too hard.
Me: But I have to put them in the mail?
Her: Read your first text mom.
Me: Oh. Ok. Got it. Picking.
Apparently, on a keypad, picking and shaking share the same keys. So do ‘yup’ and ‘zur’, which is the first syllable of ‘Zurich’, so when I answer in the affirmative to my children, it’s geographical.
Her: You gonna be home soon mumma?
I have students who have these amazing apps that can let them do awesome things. Things that I want to do. But I am afraid of the apps, and the clouds and the angry birds. What is with the angry birds? In Art class, one kid has this cool thing where he can draw with his finger on the screen and it’s like a pencil. He draws the most amazing things… won’t pick up a pencil and do it on paper, mind you, which is the medium I understand, but we’re trying to meet half-way.
Me: “Can you print that, and then try to recreate it in your sketchbook?”
Him: “Why? I did it here.”
Me: “Yeah, but we’re practicing shading, and crosshatching, and control of your pencil…”
Him: “I don’t use a pencil”
Me: “Well, yes, I see that, but…”
He continues to draw an incredibly realistic face, now with blood pouring out of several orifices, and I back away, smiling benevolently…
A lot of my kids are into geo-caching, which is fascinating. Treasure and mapping and GPS and a tiny bundle hidden in a tree behind the Superstore, or under a rock in the local park… It’s wonderful to know they are roaming about, outside, playing… like we used to do with sticks and balls and skipping ropes.
Same thing, maybe? Just… digital?
But it’s disturbing too.
A fellow teacher recently was discussing Anne Frank with a student, explaining how she had to hide, and no one could help her. The student asked why Anne didn’t just text someone and ask for help.
Disturbing. On so many levels.
And, of course, the bullying. The cyber-release of hormones and teenage angst that they can never escape. Some of my kids tell me they don’t sleep well, because they’ll get a text from someone at 2am, and it wakes them.
Turn off the phone?
And if that text is a nasty, hateful, pustulent outpouring of snark?
Block? Delete? Ignore?
What seems like simple answers to me, confounds them.
I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out how to change my ringtone.
I’d like something by Tim McGraw.
I hope I can catch up, and keep current with the techy trends that my kids lap up like a slushy on a hot day. But I doubt I will.
I grew up watching ‘Lorne Green’s New Wilderness’, and ‘The Walton’s’. I had a huge crush on Captain Kirk, and I was in university the first time I rented a VCR machine and a movie from the local movie store and walked home in the dark with the ten pound machine to watch it on my fifteen inch television.
With popcorn made in a pan. In oil. Slightly burnt.
I remember when McDonald’s cooked their fries in animal fat.
When I was first married, our phone was a party line.
No, children, that doesn’t mean it networked social gatherings on-line. That means that four other houses shared the line, and listened in on your conversations.
I know, I know. You LOL. You may even ROFL.
But you still have to pick up that pen.
There, their and they’re.
Your and you’re.
Get it right.