Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If Anybody Deserves a Trophy, It's Mrs. Thevictorian

Val has done it gain, folks. Let's start polishing that Nobel trophy. It DOES come with a trophy, doesn't it? Because who wants to win a Nobel Prize if there's no trophy? Not this ol' Val, that's for sure. That would be like one of those soccer trophies kids get when they're six. When everybody gets a trophy, just for being on the team. That's not for me. I am special.

Today I fixed two problems with technology in my very own classroom. Yep. You read that right. I did not merely solve one technological crisis, I solved TWO! Quick! You there! Here's a benjamin. Run out and buy some trophy polish. I want to have it ready for my award.

Things were running smoothly right up into sixth hour. Nary a problem. Young minds being stuffed with tidbits of work and force and simple machines and efficiency and mechanical advantage. And tiny-bit older minds feasting on a smorgasbord of homologous chromosomes, sister chromatids, meiosis, Gregor Mendel, pea plants, and the law of independent assortment. Then, between the end bell for sixth hour, and the tardy bell for seventh hour, that rainbow-and-unicorn-fest came to a screeching halt.

My DVD player emitted a noise best described as death throes from accidental choking. Not a whir, not a hum, not a grind...but a combination thereof. Without taking a breath. I tried to perform the DVD Heimlich by pushing in his power button, then his eject button, but Devie was having none of it. Believe me, it hurt me more than it hurt him. The kids gazed at me in horror. It was like hearing the screams of a rabbit being tossed and bitten by a dog not my sweet, sweet Juno.

To stop the insanity, I bravely reached into the tangled nest of 338,194,470 wires that lay coiled in disarray on the table behind my tower of electronic gewgaws at my corner control center. I turned that tower 90 degrees and found the umbilical wire that gave Devie life. Then I followed it to the lesser of the two power strips, and severed the connection. Devie wound down into blessed silence.

That little act of euthanasia accomplished, I put the tech tower back like it was and turned to take attendance, and cue up my textbook DVD for the projector, so we could hear the automated reader until I stopped her to emphasize important concepts. Don't worry. The textbook DVDs play through my laptop. The one I just fixed on Thursday, so it now charges to 100% when I leave it on the dock.

I introduced the lesson, explained a photograph, hit the icon to goose that reader into action...and silence deafened the room. WE HAD NO SOUND! What a monkey wrench that was! A conscientious volunteer began reading for us, while I fiddled about with my wires. I had a blue light on my sound amplifier. So I knew it had not been unplugged. I turned it off and back on. That sometimes works, you know. And I noticed that there was no crackle and pop like I'd been getting upon turning it on for months.

From past troubleshooting, my card-catalog mind pulled out the drawer concerning frayed copper wires screwed into a green plastic doodad on the back of the amplifier. I turned my tech tower 90 degrees again. Uh huh. The frayed copper of the red wire had come completely out of the green doodad. The frayed copper of the black wire held fast.

Our dear reader had finished the section. We discussed salient points, then I handed out the assignment. I called the office to see if they had a small flathead. The secretary told me I could come look at her selection. Au contraire. Not with a classroom full of high-spirited young learners. She asked if I had anybody smart to send in to choose my tool. "I don't know. Let me ask. Hey! Are any of you smart?" Three kids raised their hands. I went with the second one, since the first had forgotten her book this very day, which I think constitutes not winning the Smart Award on this occasion.

Tool-Fetcher brought me three humongous flatheads. I sent him back, with instructions to go down to the technology building for a better selection. He returned with just the right medicine. While he was gone, I showed half of a set of twins my severed copper, and discussed my plans for reconstructive surgery.

"Oh. I think, Mrs. Thevictorian, that instead of taking the whole green doodad off, you only need to unscrew that vertical screw right over the opening for the red-wire copper frays. Then you just screw that one down."

When my new surgical instrument arrived, I handed it to Helper. He had a bit of trouble straightening out the frays flatly, but soon had them installed in their slot. "There. I'm pretty sure that will work."

"Here. Let's test it. CLEAR! Get your hands off those wires. I'm charging the defibrillator. Wouldn't want to give you a shock." I turned on the amplifier. I thought I detected the tiniest of CLICKS from the speakers mounted on the front wall. I clicked my DVD textbook reading icon again. VOILA! Text to speech! "Hey, kids! The sound works! Now we can read it all over again!" Let's just say they were less than enthusiastic. Though they DID brighten up when I informed them that now they could watch five minutes of the Simple Machines video I had loaded from Learn 360.

Yes. Mrs. Thevictorian has solved THREE technology issues since Thursday. So what if she had a little help from a ninth-grader today. Can kids under 18 sue for a portion of the Nobel Prize? I don't think so.

I'm cleaning off a shelf for my future Nobel trophy.


  1. And after you receive your trophy, you can melt down the coating and sell it to a dentist for...oh, perhaps $17, which will have you sitting pretty for a 8 days or so with your gas station pop.

    Congratulations. I'm clapping that fake "I'm-not-really-happy-because-you-won-and-I-didn't-but-when-I-leave-I'm-gonna-stick-a-shiv-in-one-of-your-tires" clapping.

  2. If you end up with the only trophy I'd not turn my back on Tool Fetcher. People have be stabbed with flat-heads for less.

  3. joeh,
    Thank you. I'm sure I will be one of the top contenders for that Nobel Tech Prize. I think there's a monetary component as well. When I win, we'll drink a toast...you with your dirty-water cocktail, and me with my 44 oz. Diet Coke. I may even spring for gas station chicken.

    I certainly hope so! I've got a lot of toasting to do. I appreciate you faking your congratulations. Haters gonna hate, enviers gonna envy, and shiv-ers gonna shiv. That's what makes the world go round.

    If I get the only trophy, I will fill it with GUM and pass it around. Kids LOVE gum! Tool Fetcher will use that flathead to stab himself a shish kebab of gum. Kids would drape themselves in gum if that practice was socially acceptable and not frowned upon.

    Thank you. I am curtseying and bowing and batting my eyelashes while faking modesty. We all know I deserve that Nobel Prize. Let's not kid ourselves.

  4. Stephen,
    I must agree with you on that one. People with such an aptitude for electronic gewgaws are few and far between. I fill the gap. Besides, my son Genius had to get those genes from SOMEBODY.