What more do we get to do besides teach?   Learn a new phone system.  My district decided to go with a phone system that uses the internet lines.  Over the past few weeks there have been non-teacher people wandering around the building installing phones.  I actually got a brand new phone  2 months ago because my old one wasn’t working.  Apparently that new phone will be gone over our long weekend and on Monday we will have the new system in place.

Last Tuesday we had a faculty meeting to train us on the new phone system.  It was larger than a faculty meeting because everyone that uses a phone needed to be there.  Several of those that are never at faculty meetings squeezed into the room.  It was actually quite a sight to see all of those people who make our building run all in the same room.

We have a tech guy in the district who is absolutely awesome.  He was our building coach for the technology initiative for when I got this computer.  His job description has changed a bit and now he gets to train us in the phone system.  I felt sorry for Ivan, passing on the information for whomever made this brilliant decision for the new system.

So…  here goes the description of the new system…

Each teacher, EA, TA, administrator, etc. has their own 5 digit number and phone in the entire district.  Apparently we can use the 5 digit number to reach whomever we want to.  The phones have big display screens that show when you have a voicemail and you can do loads of things with these phones.  You now have a direct-dial number too.  The suggestion is that you give that out to your family for when you’re working late.  Parents should still be given the main school number and calls will be routed to you through the office.

The phone will ring three times before it goes to your voicemail.  There is a DND (DO NOT DISTURB) button that you can push while you’re teaching so you’re not interrupted.  Can you imagine the collective excitement in the room when we heard about that feature?  But then, Ivan burst our bubble and told us that the office can over-ride that feature and come through the phone on an intercom and say “Ms B, pick up the phone.”  From the audience a comment came, “So DND, really doesn’t work, huh?”

When they installed my phone, they first put it in the location of the old phone which is up in the front where I teach.  I came in one morning to find it moved back to near my desk.  That’s nice and all, for when it rings while I’m at my desk.  With my new Promethean board, I’m trapped behind a big counter because I’m in an old science room.  Can you imagine me, teaching away, phone rings, drop everything, get around the counter, weave my way between all of the desks, jump over backpacks on the floor, and sprint toward the back of the room to reach the phone before the 3rd ring?  As I get older I do recognize my limitations and what is clearly asinine.  I’m not going to get injured just to answer the phone.  But then again, worker comp…  time off… hmm…

Back to the training…

Each phone is now associated with a person, NOT a room.  One teacher raised his hand and innocently asked, “So what if I float around to different rooms during the day?”  Another teacher says under her breath, “Put the phone on the cart John, put it on the cart!”  I believe Ivan’s answer to the question had something to do with those teachers needing to check their voicemail more often.  But in reality, if the office needs to reach a student, they’ll need to look up 1) where the kid is, 2) what teacher they have, 3) if the teacher is in their own room, 4) if not, look up whose room they’re in, and 5) dial the extension for the other teacher.

And in this era of reconstituting schools and the fruit-basket-upset with staff that occurs…  if you move to another room or even another building, guess what?  The phone moves with you!

We were all sent back to our rooms to set up our voicemail accounts.  Mine actually worked.  There were several people who pushed the “envelope” button and couldn’t do anything.  They’ll probably have to send in an e-ticket for technology mishaps and wait a few weeks for a fix.

If I want to really learn about the phone, I can watch twenty-seven (yes, 27) separate tutorials online.

So…  Who was the Ding-A-Ling downtown that made this decision?


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