Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It was supposed to be an average Monday. He walked into his classroom, noticed that his wardrobe doors were wide open. Mr. Th opened the adjoining door to their portable and said someone had broken in over the weekend, but he hadn't found anything missing. Walking to his desk he noticed that his nick-nack items that should be on the cpu's of his five desktop computers by the window were on his desk.
"I think they just moved stuff around. They wrote a bunch of obscenities on my board." the other teacher added.
Then he saw what was missing: his laptop computer. The locking cable was on the floor and still locked, they must have yanked it off. The speakers were still there, but the power cable was gone.
"Shit! They took my laptop!" he exploded. He went to the wardrobe to see if anything else was gone, nothing that he could think of.
Mr. Th said, "I'll e-mail the break-in to D----, the assistant principle in charge of building and maintenance.
"I need to go to the tech office and inform them, then we need to make out a police report." He headed out the door get all the paper work started.
Going into the main office he went up to the head secretary, let her know about the break-in and to send security over. She was on the walkie-talkie contacting security as he left to go across the hall to the tech office. He let them know the laptop was stolen, but he'd move one of his student desktops over temporarily until they could get him a replacement, (but it would be another desktop instead of a laptop). They asked if he had the serial numbers of the computer and he told them it should be on file as the now retired techie had taken them down every year for the last six years.
Walking up the ramp to his door he met the security officer who came in, looked around said he didn't see any signs of forced entry then went into the next room to speak with Mr. Th. The police then arrived they took down his name and room number.
Then it was time for class to start. His law class. Well when you're covering Criminal Law where better to start the discussion than from what has happened in your own classroom?
Class over he had a little extra time between classes due to what the schedule calls a nutrition break. He checked his desktops for the one he had installed the grade program on a few years earlier as a back up when the laptop had needed servicing. He moved it over, put the cpu on the floor by the desk put the huge monitor on top of the desk under a power box, hooked everything up and then started to really feel the inconvenience of what had happened.
These five computers were four years old from a grant he'd been awarded. They were as much dinosaurs as his laptop had been, but because the company that the grant was through had students assemble them and used outdated parts even then they were slow as molasses in January. They did the job for research on the web in his Law and history classes, but he hoped the tech dept. would come up with a better one with a flat screen monitor soon.
Pulling out a 3 1/4 in floppy from his desk drawer he put it in the slot, pulled up the grade program and opened up his back up files for grades, remembering right before he left on the previous Friday that he had made the really big mistake of not backing up his grades. What he was pulling up was from the previous Friday and in the last week he'd had students come and go, posted grades and rearranged his seating to separate talking students. That would all have to be recreated. The next problem was having the cpu on the floor, not enough room on the desk for cpu and monitor, but the mouse cord would only reach if it was on the left side, not on his right side. You have any idea how difficult it is to use a mouse from the left hand? After a few minutes he remembered in his desk was a usb box with four slots that had a fairly long extension cord on it, (he loves gadgets even if after you get them they get put in a drawer and are never used), this solved his mouse problem, but he couldn't get onto the attendance web page or the school's e-mail. He couldn't remember the addresses mainly because they were on a link on his laptop. 
Then the next class came in and the computer problems were put on hold.
At the end of the day he mentally calculated that it would take two or three hours to get the gradebook back to where he needed it. (This always happens right when grades are due for some reason) He also discovered two other items missing: his amber colored computer reading glasses and a small wooden model of the Santa Maria (the Pinta and Nina as well as a bigger model of a clipper ship were still there) but the Santa Maria was gone. Those two items pissed him off more than losing a six year old, crashed a couple of times, full of viruses, trojans and worms, dead battery laptop. Those ships had been in his father's classroom and were given to him when his late father retired from teaching. They had been in his classroom through three different schools and ten different rooms for over twenty years. It only had meaning to him, was of no value, neither was the computer for that matter, this would only mean the person who broke in was a student getting back at him.
The decision facing him now was stay here and get up to speed or take the hard copy gradebook home and do it there. Only problem: the files were on a floppy and his computer at home didn't have a slot for a floppy, he'd need to put them on a flash drive and he didn't have a flash drive here at school. He'd have to walk home (about three blocks away) and come back with a flash drive in the hottest part of the day.
When he opened the door to see if Mr. Th could give him the addresses to the e-mail and attendance sites he'd already left (earlier he did say that his door sometimes didn't close properly and that was most likely how whoever did this got in.) Small comfort, His new Imac and light pro were still there and my piece of crap laptop with all my automatically saved passwords was missing.
After walking home and retrieving a flashdrive, walking back, saving the information and heading out it was time to call it a day. At least it gives me something to do during Monday Night Football, he thought picking up his bag with papers, gradebook and other stuff. Damn wouldn't you know it the Dallas/Philadelphia game was a track meet and they were scoring touchdowns like crazy. He missed seeing half of them except on replay working on the stupid computer.

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