observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks.
After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful.
OMFG!! I can understand when ignorant people question a new concept or a new idea and then either see the light or turn a blind eye. But this is sheer stupidity. A teacher, A TEACHER, does not know about Linux!! And she has the temerity to admonish a student, who shows that he is exploring an exciting new world of possibilities.
I hope this is a joke and if not, I hope that this teacher is reprimanded in the strogenst possible way.
Update : This post by Ken explains why it’s not a good idea to jump to conclusions.
my phone buzzed again but it wasn’t with the incoming call ring…it was a text message being received. I cued the caller ID and it returned as “unavailable”.
I pushed “read message” and waited for the text to appear on my screen.
“Can I call you?”
I pulled the truck over into a parking lot and answered:
“I guess. Who r u?”
The inactivity was so long that I started the truck and began to put it into gear and re-enter traffic when the buzz came again. I pushed the read button.
It was my turn to hesitate. Finally, I toggled Reply and typed in one character.
She didn’t call right away. It took her about 15 minutes to finally call me. When she did she didn’t say anything for the first 15 seconds. When she finally did speak, it was obvious she was crying.
“Why did you throw me to the wolves like that?”
I didn’t even have to think of the reply.
“I didn’t throw you to the wolves Karen, I threw ignorance to the wolves. Let me ask you something. If I had not emailed you a link to my blog, would you have even known about this?”
Again she hesitated. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that if you didn’t know I had written that blog, would you have known about all these comments? Has anyone called you or bothered you about this? Have your co-workers mentioned it?”
“Then the wolves didn’t touch you Karen. If I had included your last name or email address, then yes, you could ask me that question but as it stands, you are just a nameless school teacher that evoked a public response from me.”
She didn’t say anything for several seconds. When she did, it was a quiet and simple:
I want to apologize to all the hard-working and honest NEA members. My statements were based on an isolated but nasty experience two years ago, and, while I developed a nasty dislike for the people in that situation, it was both unfair and short-sighted to say the things I did. The teachers that we entrust our kids with on a daily basis do us a service that is under-appreciated, under-paid and over-criticized. My mini tirade didn’t add anything of value to the situation and only served to inflame an already volatile area of debate. You have my sincere apology for slapping you all with such a wide brush.
Karen isn’t alone in her ignorance. I have sat in a PhD’s office…a PhD that happened to be a principal of a school. She told me that according to her “tech staff”, it was illegal to remove Microsoft Windows from their school computers. So who is ignorant here? The “tech staffer” afraid of losing his MCSE position or the Dr. of Education that didn’t bother to check into such a statement. Ignorance isn’t the sole possession of this particular school teacher.
Karen and I have talked on the phone now for a couple of hours, here and there. We’ve come to understand each other more and had she said some of the things in her email that she said during our phone conversations…this black ink on white digital paper probably wouldn’t exist.
The student did get his Linux disks back after the class. The lad was being disruptive, but that wasn’t mentioned. Neither was the obvious fact that when she saw a gaggle of giggling 8th grade boys gathered around a laptop, the last thing she expected to see on that screen was a spinning cube.
She didn’t know what was on those disks he was handing out. It could have been porn, viral .exe’s…any number of things for all she knew. When she heard that an adult had given him some of the disks to hand out, her spidey-senses started tingling. Coupled with the fact that she truly was ignorant of honest-to-goodness free software, and you have some fairly impressive conclusion-jumping.
In a couple of ways, I am guilty of it too.
Karen seems to be a good teacher, and as she stated to me today, she has learned more about the tech world in a few days than she’s learned in five years.
That’s because she’s trapped in a world of Windows. Most people are.
I am trapped in the world of Windows too. I have Linux (red hat distro) on my PC but I rarely use it cause my PC has become wonky off late and ever since I got a laptop with Vista loaded, I have been stuck with it. I am not totally happy with it as it freezes from time to time and god forbid I run more than two CPU hungry applications on it (never run Apache and MySql at the same time). In fact, I would say Vista is the reason why I really am not dabbling in servers anymore.