Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Right now I'm working at a computer learning center. Part of what we do is send our instructors to company sites to train their employees, and typically the people who took the class fill out a little paper evaluation. Part of what I do is enter those evaluations into our system so we have them digitally. (This, ladies and gentleman, is what we call busy work).

We just sent 5 or 6 of our instructors to run some classes for Weld County School District (Weld County teachers were strongly recommended but not required to attend classes like Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint). As I've been entering the evaluations from this particular session, I've chiefly noticed two things:

  1. Teachers make giant smiley faces in all the comment sections, as compared to everyone else who... well, don't.
  2. Teachers make excellent and consistent smileys.

But there was one evaluation which stood out to me this morning. Iris (who identified herself as an English teacher, big surprise) felt led to pen a lengthy paragraph about the demise of education and the rise of technology in the little section marked "Comments/Suggestions to improve your experience?" I was baffled and moved by her (somewhat misdirected) eloquence, and sad that this little Microsoft Vista evaluation form, that probably only I will ever read, would be her only forum. So I have decided to share Iris' comments/suggestions with you all. Perhaps it will inspire you. Perhaps it will challenge you. And perhaps... it will make you laugh.

"I am sad that great literature and the newest technology are truly moving in opposite directions. We are now forever handcuffed to technology while the great foundations of our historical, literary, and artistic past continue to die protesting but quiet deaths. We have inherited fragmented education (thank you, technology!) where students no longer read complete novels but instead, they jump on spark notes... and text messaging continues to erode essay writing. There is a price tag..."

I just don't know what else I can add to this. I was so surprised to find such lofty language and such passionate expression in so simple (and, it could be argued, inappropriate) a setting that much of its seriousness was diluted by the sheer random humor of it.

Wildly emotive comments? Spontaneous, dramatic suggestions? Do share.


Melissa said...

This is awesome! It takes me right back to public education. I'd probably be one of the teachers making a smiley face, if I left a comment at all. BTW... mine are not excellent nor are they consistent... it's the real reason I stopped teaching. J/K

I have been around teachers like Iris, but I remember the math enthusiasts. They refuse to use any kind of calculator or any other kind of technology because it's not true math.

I'm sure Iris would be pleased to know that her thoughts are now reaching the masses. She was probably hoping her words would move you to shut down the computer lab right then and there.

ThomG said...

I was going to post something witty and poignant, but then my mobile rang while I was busy reading Salon online. And then - hey, look kittens!

Anonymous said...

Hey I'm a literary teacher buff and I don't agree with her...there are many great literary works now being scripted out using technology as a new form of writing. I used to believe in a sort of "classical pride' that if it wasn't written down on paper using a long feather and ink it wasn't "great"...hasn't she read some of the blogs out there.....Go get that poor misguided lady and liberate her!

Freedom for Iris........and hey look kittens! Beth

RachelRenae said...

Fabulous, you guys. I love it! (And hey Thomg, Kittens!!)