Confessions of an Incompetent IT Administrator

It is Friday the 13th the 2nd in the 2020. Somehow, I don’t think those numbers can possibly portend anything good. The first lockdown in this country began on a Friday the 13th in March – a date I will never forget – and lasted into May. Summer was pretty chill but in Fall, signs started popping up that the predicted second wave was coming. After foolishly bragging just two weeks ago on this blog that I was in the only green spot on Austria’s Covid Map, things here immediately exploded, and we are now considered a hotspot. I fully expect that a new lockdown will be decided on today, Friday, November 13th, and that it may very well include the country-wide switch to distance learning for all age groups.

Good thing our Hummingbird School has a crack IT team (me) and a nearly functioning virtual learning platform almost set up with nearly all the kids now registered on it and a teaching team who have agreed to find time to learn how to use it – eventually.

I had been banging on this particular drum – our school’s need to have a functioning learning platform ready in case of closure – since the very beginning of the year. Being generally considered the most computer-savvy member of the team (which, believe me, says nothing good about our collective skills), I suddenly found myself in the unofficial/official role of “IT Designee”. I sighed for a week and then got down to work.

The team agreed to using the free platform provided by the Ministry of Education and the core set of teachers all registered. I learned my way around the program and then wrote up simple step-by-step instructions for the parents to register their kids (a ten-minute activity) and presented it to them at our kick-off weekend. I impressed upon them our need for their cooperation. From the serious nodding in the audience, I figured we would have all the kids signed up by early October.

Here’s what I know now that I didn’t realize then:

  1. Most parents don’t read their emails.
  2. Many parents who read their emails don’t understand them.
  3. When parents don’t read or understand an email, they simply delete or forget about it.
  4. Of those who actually reacted to the emails, many had difficulty following simple instructions.
  5. Of those who succeeded in signing their kids up, a significant percentage could not log in again later because:
    • they couldn’t find the website again
    • they had registered themselves instead of their kids
    • they typed in the wrong username
    • they forgot their password

The upshot of my experiences over the past three months as IT Administrator is that I am having serious doubts about the . . . “thoughtfulness” . . . of mankind in general. I continually regather my patience as I individually talk someone through the process, explain to them where their problem lies, or send out the fifth or sixth reminder to someone. I sigh a lot.

In hindsight, I think it would have saved me a lot of time and nerves if I had just registered and signed in all 38 kids myself (although, I am not sure if this would have been possible, technically speaking.) Whatever.

It’s now Saturday the 14th and a press conference is scheduled for 5:00 pm, when government officials will announce yesterday’s decisions. Serious media outlets have already reported that all schools will be closing, but other in-the-know people say it is not true. In any case, that gives me about 9 more hours to get the last two stragglers on board before we (potentially) launch. I should probably drop the patient approach and try some good old-fashioned harassing.

Sigh.

13 thoughts on “Confessions of an Incompetent IT Administrator

  1. Having been in a position to introduce new procedures for even simple things like electronic access to an office building, my sympathy goes out to you. I’m not sure what it is but people that you think are smart seem to shut down when there is something new or maybe not to their liking comes along. Let’s hope they don’t shoot the messenger. Most of our schools locally are either hybrid (half in person and half on-line) or totally remote and even those that are hybrid are having 2 week totally remote breaks now and then as cases spike in the school. Parents have been insistent on having sports programs which has been a nightmare. From week to week you don’t know which schools are playing because they are automatically cancelled if a player tests positive. It wouldn’t surprise me if humans go extinct in the not all that distant future and it won’t be from an asteroid. It will be because people don’t want to be inconvenienced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I feel your pain. I support (as an IT Admin) Schools in Wisconsin, America, and have witnessed the Up/Downs you speak of -it is not fun for anyone involved, especially if the Internet or a remote learning PC goes down. But those last two sentences about extinction and inconvenience just almost killed me (with laughter) it was so good. Applause!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Bless you for trying, 227. People are resistant to new things… when I first started my blog, family members wanted to subscribe to it but couldn’t figure out how to “follow.” (Easy, you hit the button and enter your email, then check your inbox for an email from WordPress and click the link so they know the email is valid. That’s it. From then on, you’ll get an email every time I post something.) I explained this until I was blue in the face. Eventually, I just created an e-mail group for followers who couldn’t figure out how to follow, and sent them all a link whenever I posted something. I do hope things transition smoothly if you have to move to 100% online learning. COVID19 is surging here, too, and the rules change from week to week. Our governor has mandated mask wear and the people I’ve seen out and about have been doing it. Thanks for the belated b-day wishes. 🙂

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    1. I have created numerous Instructions for people with screenshots including all the dialogue boxes with red arrows pointing to what to click and enter at every stage. My success rate is about 60% that they could follow it. And I am talking about the Management people I am allowed to deal with. I had to laugh when you said “Blue in the Face” ,if you google the word BSOD you might understand! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome to My World. I spend all day (and some nights) trying to fix what many times turns out to be IDTENT Errors. Nobody seems to understand that Information Technology advances so quickly beyond the normal comprehension of people that it must also include a plethora of Support Functions, which themselves (after long on Hold times) know about as much about anything to fix it than you do in Many cases. Most issues would not happen with at least Basic Computer training and Responsibility.. Not Cost Effective it seems. That is why the Real Support is so expensive. When you can get it…

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  4. I would have opted for signing in the kids myself and just write their individual access data out for them. I am not as patient as you are in the face of stupidity or downright ignorance. What’s the matter with those people? It their own kid’s education.

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    1. I do not hold to account the Ignorance of the Financial Masters. I see that little person coming in to ask me if I can fix their issue on their laptop and it melts my heart. All other issues melt away in that moment.

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    1. If the School does not understand the need for support, then it shall abandon itself to it’s own demise. I just do not agree that Children should suffer for Adult Ignorance.

      Liked by 1 person

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