Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Wish

It hasn't been a very good week.

My faith in mankind has been tried on quite a few levels and the upper limit had to be having my classroom broken into and my LCD projector stolen. I don't like to think I was targeted specifically, but a sudden string of incidents caused Isaac to ask me if I thought I was being "hazed". Could be. Probably not. Probably a string of unrelated incidents, but the unrelated incidents are getting really old, really fast. I had a lengthy chat with the police, told them what I knew (which wasn't much) and they promised to let me know of any "developments", but a friend laid it on the line for me.

I'll never see that projector again.

The crazy thing is, I didn't think I "needed" it. Heck, teachers have been teaching without them for centuries. They are only commonplace in the classroom within the last decade or so. They allow a laptop computer screen to be projected onto the wall. Suddenly, video clips, PowerPoint presentations, the internet, spreadsheets can all be shared with an entire classroom.

In addition, I was "wired" to allow me to project paper documents in "real time". To the uninitiated, this means that I could write on a worksheet, and the worksheet, my hand, pen and the words appeared magically on the wall as I wrote. Not unlike an older style "overhead" projector, but better. No acetate transparencies. No special pens. No bright, blinding light, and when I was finished, a hard copy that could be saved for a student absent that day. I hadn't thought I "needed" that, either, until I tried it.

I also had the capability to project in "3D". Beakers, rulers, springs, motors. Too small to make sense to the back of the room from the front of the room, but when projected on the wall, well, they say that a "picture is worth a thousand words", and if that's true, a live image of a 3D object might just be worth a million. I hadn't thought I "needed" that, either.

It took several weeks to get the projector, another couple to have it installed, and then another couple of weeks for me to get comfortable with using it. Finally, within the last month, I'd really gotten the hang of which switches, when, what connections, how, and reveled in the "Oooohhh"'s from my students when it happened to be put to particularly good use.

9 days ago, a person or persons unknown decided that their desire for a projector was far more important than was the learning going on in my classroom, broke into the school and took what they wanted.

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I don't argue for a moment that I have plenty to be thankful for. I know the whereabouts of all of my family members. The refrigerator is overfilled with tasty leftovers from the feast, the sudden cold snap outside is nothing more than an excuse to light a fire in the fireplace. I truly enjoy the vast majority of my students, and they are getting comfortable enough with me to share an occasional joke. Most are succeeding academically, and those who are not, know why they aren't. I have friends who call me up just to "check in" and our nuclear family is celebrating exciting changes across the board.

I have many reasons to be thankful, but selfishly, I really, really want that projector back.


It's not the projector.

I want my innocence back.