Wednesday, July 01, 2009

On teachers (or at least teachers that work over the summer)...

Teachers are insane. Or maybe I’m insane for dealing with them. Or at least the ones crazy enough to still be working in July. Whatever happened to summer vacation?

STORY I: A certain school had a program in April that was partially funded by a group called AP. AP paid for just over half of the $250 fee. The school was responsible for the rest. I was promised repeatedly that the money was coming, but the school’s half never arrived. So, I started sending firm letters to the school’s principle. This resulted in a check being cut for the amount in question. Unfortunately for us, the check was made out to AP and mailed to AP’s parent group, BT - even though the invoice was from my museum and clearly stated that all checks should be made out to us and sent to OUR mailing address.

Oh, and since the AP and BT offices are run by a bunch of monkeys, the money has gone astray.

STORY II: A teacher wants us to coordinate bus tours for two groups of middle schoolers in July and August. But she wants nothing to do with the planning and refuses to even choose a topic for the tour (note: we offer over 20 different tours, so I could use some help narrowing down an appropriate tour focus). Her last email literally said (and yes I am quoting here), “Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I've been out of the office. Anyway, would it be alright if we looked to y'all to come up with a tour that would be best fit for the kids? You're the expert! So if we could just show up and enjoy that would be terrific!”


STORY III: A summer camp wanted the museum to come out and teach the kids over a two week period, but they gave us very little heads up (they called us on Thursday for a camp scheduled to start on Tuesday). Thinking of it as an interesting challenge, a teacher friend of mine and I developed the curriculum, bought supplies and implemented the program for a small group of local middle school students.

Originally, the program’s cumulating event was scheduled for July 2nd, but then last week it was changed to July 1st. And on June 30th, it changed back to July 2nd. So, the summer camp’s obviously a well-organized machine. Right...I’m glad you are going along with me on that.

Anyway, we conducted videotaped interviews on Tuesday (yes, that would be June 30th, 2009), and I received an email late the same afternoon asking if the interviews would be edited and ready for public viewing on Thursday morning. I think the actual language was, “Will the interviews taped today be turned into a documentary for Thursday’s cumulating event for the parents?”

Um, no.

I wrote back saying that we had the technology to capture the interviews, but not to string them together and turn them into documentary films. Especially, on such short notice.

This prompted a phone call where the teacher asked if there was anything I would be able to show during Thursday’s event. For the children.

When did I become such a sucker?

Me: “I can probably have the rough footage available for the participating students and their parents to view Thursday morning. We just don’t have the technology to turn it into a documentary or proper video presentation in less than 48 hours.”

Teacher: “That’s fine. Can we project it on the big screen in front of the entire school?”

Me: “Um, I guess.”

Teacher: “Great! Do you have a projector?”

Me: “Actually, no. The museum just bought a Mac for this project, and we don’t have a projector that is compatible with it or an adapter. Do you have a Mac-ready projector we can use? Or a cord adapter?”

Teacher: “I think so.”

Me: “Okay, think we are good to go then.”

Teacher: “Great!”

Then, today, the teacher emailed me again asking if I could bring a projector. And a screen.

Whaaaaat? Wait a minute!

I wrote her back, and reminded her of my problem with the Mac and the compatibility problems with our projector. As for the screen, the museum has one, but its location (thanks to the renovations) is a bit of a mystery at the moment. I promised her I would look for it, though (which I did this afternoon with no luck).

I received an email back from the teacher stating that she forgot about the compatibility issue and would check around to see what she could come up with. She eluded to a couple of her coworkers that were Mac users and might have a projector or adapter I could borrow.

I brought the laptop home and have been working tonight to figure out the finer details of operating a Mac and iMovie (I’ve never used a Mac before, so there is a bit of a learning curve). While the Tuesday's interview footage was downloading, I logged into my work email and discovered yet another email from the lead teacher. It was time stamped at 7:30 PM:

“I think we have found a projector, but we need to know if you have a Mac cord.”


I wrote her back and explained (yet again) the problem with the Mac and the projector.

Of course, since my email was sent at 9:15 PM, it is doubtful that she’ll see it before tomorrow morning.

Did I mention that the museum is providing this entire program completely free of charge? No? Yeah. We are getting paid absolutely nothing to deal with this nonsense.


The good news is that the footage is downloaded and ready to be seen - if only from a computer screen. Hopefully, that will be enough for the students and their adoring parents. If I didn’t have to be at the school before 9 AM tomorrow morning, I would totally go and buy a stupid adapter for the museum’s projector.

Grumble, grumble…

The long, holiday weekend cannot come soon enough.

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