Hardly a lesson passes without me getting something wrong.
The potential for mistakes begins as soon as students enter the classroom. A silent starter is the routine of the school, everyone is expected to come in quietly and get on with the task on the screen. The task is on the screen if I have had time to come in from the previous lesson, connect my laptop to the necessary cables, and set up the PowerPoint slideshow for the lesson. Sometimes there is a choice to be made between getting the class in and setting up the starter. How long can you leave them outside before someone comes along to ask what is taking you so long?
Then there is the register on the SIMS system. It has to be taken and submitted electronically- within ten minutes of the start of the lesson. Delay a minute extra and a message arrives telling you that you have failed to take the register. Fail to press the “save” button and the register is not submitted, and someone is sent from the office to your classroom asking that you take the register immediately.
Complete the starter and the next slides take students through the next parts of the lesson, which should be straightforward, if the school did not operate a split-screen system where the cursor may be on the projection screen, or may be on the screen of your laptop, and sometimes seems to disappear altogether.
YouTube is an excellent teaching resource with countless clips that can be used in lessons. It is also my bete noire. I can rarely get through showing a clip without something going wrong. I try to have the clip ready to run on my laptop screen and then “drag” it onto the projection screen, except that it doesn’t always work.
I have never tried anything technologically more advanced than PowerPoint or YouTube. Some teachers have all sort of gadgetry used in lessons, my chief accessory is the whiteboard marker.
There was no training in using any of the technology, it just seems to be assumed that everyone know how to use it. Perhaps the problem in coming from a pre-electronic generation is lacking the skills that younger people learn from the earliest age. It has reached the point where my greatest fear in any day is not whatever class I might face, but that I might have yet another technological failure.