Day 16 – August 30, 2022 Network Technician

Teaching during the start of this current information and internet age was a blessing and a curse. We often had the freedom do what we wanted to do because nobody was sure of what it was we were doing. Networking equipment was one of the first big hurdles. Montview was an Apple school and we had a fair number of machines. We even moved to the point of having 2 to 3 in each classroom and kids could do a lot of work on them. The problem at the time was printing. We were starting to see printers that weren’t the dot matrix but could do whole pages and much quieter. The problem we encountered was that we could not afford the equipment for every room and were fighting an uphill battle with the district. “Elementary schools won’t need much technology” was what I heard. I saw a much larger role at all grade levels so I wanted to get resources into student and teacher hands as much as I could. This appears to be the beginning of not being a job but a crusade.
Apple did have just the thing I needed. The original Apple Talk network was like manna from heaven. It allowed us to connect machines and print. The only problem was that everything had to be on and the network went through each device. If there was a problem anywhere along the chain you couldn’t print. I decided to set up a printer in every two or three rooms. The hurdle was getting wiring from room to room and then ending at the printer. I went to a Computer City and bought a thousand-yard spool of phone cord, hundreds of RJ-11 jacks to plug into the machines, and the tool to attach the ends of the wires on the plugs. I spent hundreds of hours wiring Montview so that we could print. I ran wires in the ceiling from one room to the next. I was running around all the time checking the cords and network settings on the machines. Most of the time we could print and have moved ahead technologically.
The only time it came back to haunt me was when they finally did decide to wire the building after a bond election. I had a day’s notice to get rid of what I had spent hours doing so that I wouldn’t get caught. I did what you would expect, I took wire cutters and snipped off the wires at the ceiling tile, and took everything out of the back of the machines. I left the rest in the ceilings. When the crew was putting in the wires correctly they rolled a couple of trash cans by me and asked if I knew how hundreds of yards of telephone wire got into the ceilings. I put on my angelic face and claimed to not know. The district person took my word for it and the company people we hired laughed and shook their heads as I left.