The Zen Art of Laptop Cart Maintenance

It’s just item #Innumerable on the List of Innumerable Items that I have to do every day.  It’s no different or better or worse or difficult or anything than anything else on the List of Innumberable Items.  It’s just the one I’ve been thinking about a bit lately.

I work at a school.  I won’t say which one, because that, to my mind, is a dumb, dangerous, and God, I wish I had another “D” word here, wouldn’t that be great?  Damning?  Yeah, I think damning works.  I won’t say which school I work at because that could be a dumb, dangerous, and damning thing to do.  It’s a school.  No better or worse than the one you attended/are attending/will attend.  It’s also no better or worse than any you’ve heard of before.  I teach English and that admission will make any typos or word misuses even more, yes, damning, such as it is.

In my classroom, we have a metallic, blue cart of about 35 laptops.  I think every classroom on campus has one.  As part of the thrust into the 21st century, my students use laptops almost everyday.  It’s become the new norm–instead of running to the copy center every morning, I’m more inclined to create a Google Doc and share it with them.  Honestly, it feels futuristic, which sounds stupid since I grew up with technology.  But school without the constant stacks of papers cluttering up the room?  What’re we, Vulcans?  Anyway, I digress: my students use laptops everyday and, as a result, they are required to put the laptops back in the cart and charge them (the cart contains the chargers as well).  At the end of every period, teachers are required to reserve 6-10 minutes to observe proper protocols and procedures to ensure the laptops are put away safely.  This is all exposition and I have a point.

Despite enforcing and reinforcing these protocols and procedures, the cart inevitably ends up messed up at the end of the period.  Laptops are put away in the wrong slots, some aren’t fully turned off, others aren’t charging, etc.  Thus it follows that after 5 periods of use, the laptop cart requires some maintenance at the end of the day.  I usually spend about 6-10 minutes at the end of everyday sitting in front my cart and making sure that all the laptops are off, charging, and placed in the right slots.

Here’s the point: lately, those 6-1o minutes have been the best parts of my day.

This is not a slight on my students, who I love, nor is it a condemnation of my job, which is, honestly, the best job I’ve ever had.  But, if you’ve ever meet a first year teacher, you’ll be able to identify them by their physical traits–sleep-deprived bags under their eyes, wrinkled clothes, frazzled hair, and generally comparable to a recent near-drowning victim.  And if you can’t tell by our physical characteristics, you’ll be able to tell when we tell you about our day, which we will, even if you haven’t asked about our day, or our job, or are just some person at the bus stop or an unfortunate teller at the bank (side note: apologies to Vic from Wells Fargo.)

So, yeah, the job is stressful, obviously, but, then again, what first-year person at any job thinks their job isn’t?  We know we’re not that special, but that’s just what we’re going through.  And by “we” I mean “me” and I only said “we” because I’m either (a) crazy or (b) the correct answer is A.

What I’m saying is: as much as I love my job for all it’s tough times (which are numerous) and successes (which are the greatest friggin’ feeling I’ve ever experienced), sometimes it’s nice to have a menial task to do at the end of every day.  I’ve gotten to love my little blue laptop cart with it’s 35-or-so laptops and I’ve come to cherish those few minutes when I get to organize it.  Teaching has a lot of x-factors involved in it (especially for math teachers… see what I did there?) and you give a teacher a simple task, it’s almost like saying “here’s an early Spring Break”… almost.

Anyway, there’s no grand thought at the end of this post.  I just enjoy fixing the cart.

My name is Rory.  This is my new blog.  I hope to update it regularly.

I’m going to edit this now, but if I miss anything please don’t be a jerk about it.

Have a nice evening, reader.


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