My Very Hectic Last Day of Term

It was the last day of term today. It’s widely assumed that it’s an easy day for schools and their staff… watching films, eating chocolates, saying “Have a great Easter” and the like. However, this doesn’t seem to ever be the case for the people who work in IT. Here’s a run down of my day, both personal and professional:

7:30 am
Watching news and having breakfast. The presenter introduces the person who they’re interviewing as “<name>, one of the only <job title> in the world“. Not sure about you, but “one of” implies many and “the only” implies one – and in the world, too! OK, this isn’t part of my hectic day, but just wanted to get it out there.

7:50 am
Had to go to the doctors to have a blood test at 8:00 (I’m fine, thanks for asking). I went to one of the automatic entrance doors, and it doesn’t open. Trying the another one on the opposite side, this one also doesn’t open. “Hmm, they must not open just yet. I’ll wait outside for a bit“. I get my phone out and check any work emails I’ve received.

7:55 am
No important emails, just a few hundred from the UPS. Still waiting to get in, and another person comes up and asks me if it’s open. “No. I’ve tried both doors and they don’t open“. He goes to the door and pushes it sideways slightly. It opens up and, feeling a bit like an idiot, I follow him in. I start to walk up the stairs to the doctors floor, when I hear a voice – “We’re not open yet“. It’s the security guard (glad to see he was quick to react, after I’d already walked straight past him!). “The doctors isn’t open until 8“. Really?! Feeling more of an idiot, I apologised and waited by the automatic doors again.

7:58 am
Another person walks in and tries to go up the stairs. He gets the same spiel about not being open until 8, so goes back outside.

8:00 am
The same person comes back in and goes back up the stairs. “We’re not op… oh, it’s 8. OK, you can go up“. I follow him up the stairs into the doctors surgery. They have one of these automated check-in systems, so after seeing his show there is a 1 minute wait, I feel smug when it says that I’m the next patient. I take a seat.

8:05 am
Staff are walking around, and there’s a queue already formed at reception. I’m assuming that they’re still opening up, so I’ll be going through in a minute.

8:10 am
Getting a bit worried now, as I need to be in work by 20 past, and it takes 15 minutes to walk there from the doctors surgery. Still, I can run and make it in time.

8:15 am
Wondering if I’ve checked in properly (yes) and why no-one has been called through yet. One of the receptionists comes out into the waiting area and announces “The phlebotomist is stuck in traffic and will be arriving in the next 10 minutes“. Well, this’ll mean I won’t get into work on time. The person who checked in before me announces that he booked an early appointment and that he’ll need to leave to get into work in 2 minutes.

Side note: “Phlebotomist” has got to be one of my favourite words. I know it’s not the nicest of jobs out there, but has a fantastic sounding name.

8:17 am
The same person gets up and walks out, muttering about getting into work. I think really it’s because he’s jealous that I was before him.

8:20 am
I get called in and have my blood test. Felt sad as there weren’t any lollipops or stickers that I could ask for.

8:21 am
I leave the doctors and start running to work. Not the best thing to do with a small hole in my arm, but needs must.

8:35 am
Get into work. Immediately get pounced on by a staff member who asks me to set something up on their laptop so they can use it over the Easter holidays.

8:45 am
Have another staff member bring their laptop in to have some software installed. This is a fun one, as you can install it quickly but then have to call the company to get it activated. For each machine it’s installed on. And for each user on the same machine!

9:00 am
Get a call to help with printing out SIMS reports. These are fun to do too.

9:15 am
The RE teacher phones into the school from the church across the road where our Easter service will be happening to say that the CD we burnt doesn’t work in the CD player there. I say that I’ll burn another one and bring it over.

9:20 am
Pop a new CD into a computer in one of the computer rooms to burn the tracks onto it. While I’m there, I get caught by another staff member to ask if I can help with moving a photocopier with the caretaker. Asking them if they could wait until I had burnt the CD and taken it over, they said that would be fine.

9:22 am
The CD has been stuck at 20% burning for the last few minutes. Not good. I give up, cut my losses, and go get another CD.

9:24 am
I take the newest CD on a walk and to head to the church. I have to cross 2 roads, so I think I got a few weird looks from some drivers.

9:25 am
Get to the church, and one of the doors is locked. Go along the side of the church to try the other door. That one is locked too, so I use the knocker to let them know I’m there.

9:26 am
After wondering if there was yet another door to try, this one opens and I can get in. I find the RE teacher who asked for the new CD and hand it to them.

9:30 am
This CD doesn’t work either! No, let me try again. The CD player in the church isn’t working. Yes, that’s better. It makes clicking noises when the disc tries to play, and doesn’t show any counters. The music teacher comes over to have a look, and after also failing to get it to work, we agree to bring a laptop over to play the music through that instead.

9:35 am
Photocopier move time! Just what I wanted to have to do right now. After waiting for a sudden flurry of staff members to walk past (I think they did it deliberately) the caretaker, my colleague in IT and myself start to move it down the stairs. With a helpful “Watch your backs guys” from the headteacher, we slowly take it down 17 steps. Damage to photocopier: none. Damage to me: 3 bruises on my knee.

9:45 am
We finish moving the photocopier into it’s new place, and plug it all in. Only then do we realise that the receptionists desks are in a “L” shape, and the photocopier would fit snugly into the corner of the desks.

9:50 am
Finished moving the photocopier (again) and plug into the power and network sockets.

9:55 am
Patch the other end of the connection from the patch panel into the switch. No lights come on.

10:00 am
Move photocopier (yet again) to gain access to floor boxes (the photocopier now covers them) and swap the network cables into another network port. Patch back in again at the other end. It’s so lovely to see lights.

10:05 am
Get handed some Kinder eggs by one of the form tutors as I’m walking past. This day just got a bit better.

10:15 am
Have another request for one final report printout from SIMS.

10:30 am
Get round to activating the program that was installed on the laptop earlier. Hand laptop back to the user.

10:40 am
Celebrate that all SIMS reports have been put into envelopes to be handed to students later in the morning.

10:50 am
Head over to the church for the service. As I’m one of the last people in, I have to stand at the back. This isn’t bad, as I get a better view than sitting at the side.

11:40 am
With quite numb feet, the service is over, and I can head back into school. Some sixth formers catch up with me and ask if I could help them with their computing coursework once the school has broken up. I say yes I can do, as I’m nice like that.

11:50 am
Headteacher comes into our office to say thanks for our help this term, and that there’s a presentation being held in the staffroom for those staff that are leaving us at 12.

11:52 am
A member of staff from the little people area of the school phones up to say that they were “trying to download some maths resources and that it’s saying that a media player needs to be updated“. I say that I’ll come and have a look immediately.

11:53 am
I have a look at the computer, unplug the network and set off to find the user to say that I’d need to reimage the computer. How do they find these sites?!

11:55 am
Find the staff member dismissing students. Give up having a conversation with them as they keep shouting for students to be collected.

11:58 am
Have above conversation to let the user know that they won’t be able to use their computer for a few hours.

11:59 am
Start off the imaging process on the computer.

12:00 pm
Go into a packed staffroom for the presentations.

12:10 pm
Still waiting for the presentations to begin, as the headteacher just has to finish off something.

12:20 pm
The presentations have finished. We head back down to our office. Everyone is happy that the term is over. For us, the work is just beginning.

12:30 pm
Checked on the computer being reimaged and it’s almost finished. Let it complete and then installed SIMS onto it.

1:10 pm
The sixth formers are back and I go to help them. The room that they are in is directly next to the office. I eat my lunch at the same time, as this is the first break that I’ve had.

1:30 pm
My colleague gets a message to call the chair of governors to help him. The sixth formers joke that I’m going to get sacked.

1:31 pm
Call him, and he has had problems with his home broadband (seriously!) as the “middle light isn’t on“. While I do know quite a few things, the light meanings and patterns of every device in the world isn’t something I know. I ask the usual things such as “have you restarted it?” to which I was told yes. He suggested that he should press the reset button, to which I didn’t advise but he did it anyway. All of the lights came back on, apart from the middle light. I suggested to call the ISP and ask them if there’s a problem (as everyone else in the world would do first), and then hung up.

Checking on the ISP‘s website, for the routers light sequences, the mysterious “middle light” indicates that there is a connection to the Internet when lit.

1:35 pm
I head back into help the sixth formers again. I deliberately look upset, so that they think something is wrong. I say that everything is fine and tell them what had just happened.

After 5 solid minutes of laughing, we start on the computing work again.

1:47 pm
My colleague calls me back in again, to say that the same person is on the phone again. Sigh. Turns out it’s to tell me that the ISP is doing work in his area and that there are problems, and they should be fixed around 3 pm. What’s worse is that as I suggested he call the ISP, it confirms to him that I know light sequences off the top of my head. Double sigh.

1:55 pm
I carry on helping the sixth formers with their work.

3:00 pm
My colleague comes into the classroom to say that the same person is on the phone again. I mutter something under my breath, and after partway walking back to the office, he cracks up laughing. As do the students. Fair play, it was a great joke, and I literally walked straight into it.

4:00 pm
The students go home for the day, and I get a bit of chance to carry on with my app.

5:20 pm
I’m the last person in school, so decide to go home a bit earlier than usual. I think that I deserved it.

One last thing: While I was watching the news this morning, they mentioned that people don’t move around enough during the day. Couldn’t be more wrong!

One more last thing: I know that I’ve used many different tenses and “person” terms. I’m sorry.

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