Monday, May 11, 2009

Do Something, or the Squeeky Wheel

Last week, I had a personal triumph. After begging my local school tech contact time and again to defrag my student machines and remove the student profiles downloaded whenever even one logs in (and some on the computers had THOUSANDS of profiles, accumulated over 5 years of computer life), I was really at the end of my rope. I know our young people are ridiculously impatient when it comes to the school hardware, what with the slowness concurrent with live virus scanning and net nannying, but some of the machines had available disk space in the single digit percents. Students couldn't even log I raised a cry, going beyong the building and getting almost instant help from my district computer services folks -- the same group had told me last fall it was the building contact's responsibility to maintain them. But it was a case where voicing my need worked well to rectify the situation.

This weekend, reading Barbara Ehrenreich's column "Trying to Find a Job is Not a Job," , I realized that I, too, was guilty of the passivity Ehreneich identifies a current phenomenon. Since I could grouse all the time, I worry I will be branded "the problem" or "the complainer." I have never asked my principal for anything for the library -- not one thing. But I need more computer furniture, new carpet, and money for books since we won't be getting any next year.

In the same vein, I have been too scared to call the faculty assigned to act as my dissertation committee. What if they are mean to me, what if they tell me no? It's all hazing, the doc. process, but I am going to screw my courage to the sticking post and do something. After all, it could turn out a lot better than I have hoped.