When I first came to Pickerington, I was amazed that it had a computer lab that was open to students during their study halls and lunches. I was thrilled when I learned that English teachers monitored the lab as a duty, instead of monitoring study hall or lunch. I guess we were chosen because the computers were only being used for writing back then. There was no Internet connection.
Our technology department did not trust us to do anything with the computers. If one printer broke down we were not supposed to switch the computer preferences to the other printer. They even went so far as to try to password protect it. It is not a good idea to choose a password from Greek mythology and then assign a mythology nerd to monitor the lab. I figured out the password twice and was then told to stop. We were even micro managed to the point that if a printer ran out of paper, we were not to load it because we might break it. The technology department lost the focus on the computer labs purpose. It became something to control and make us all look with wonder and awe at the great job they were doing.
Besides cracking codes and passwords, I had fun in the lab. I enjoyed the duty because I was able to grade essays, help kids with writing assignments, and get to know students in a different way. Some students came to the lab to avoid study hall. Some students only came to type an essay. And some students lived in the lab and came during study halls and lunch. One young man was Pat.
Pat was a great kid. He was not a trouble maker, but he did enjoy trying to fix printers and computers with the technology departments knowledge. I encouraged him to take things apart and try. I was taught if something is broken then try to fix it. If you are not successful there is nothing lost; so it is still broken. I also looked at it as an educational experience for Pat. This was his passion. Why not let him learn in school about something he loved? Lastly, I knew it might make the micromanager mad. (We all have a little rebel in us.) Well, Pat fixed many computer and printer problems. Teachers would ask him for help before they went to the technology department.
When we do not allow people to think for themselves, they do not grow. By encouraging Pat to fix problems even though it may have been against the wishes of someone else, I was allowing him to learn through his own experiences. Micromanaging only creates blind followers, not innovators or thinkers or risk-takers. No successful business can last with only one person thinking for everyone. It takes the creativity and diversity of many.
What happened to Pat? The last I heard was he was on the West Coast working for Apple. I wonder what Igadget he is working on…