Thursday, December 6, 2007

an interest invested or otherwise

There's a student over here; just to my left, and she's staring at an error message box that just appeared on her computer monitor. The two of us are the only ones in the lab right now, and she tells me that she is having a problem:
I have this paper due and I'm trying to print it and it won't print and I have this error message and I don't know what it means and it's not my fault and will you write a note to my teacher telling her that I tried to print out the paper but something was wrong with the school equipment so, and yeah.
I look to my left. I peek over the monitor I'm using. I turn to see what's behind me.

And I pause. One of those really deliberate, Hamlet-like pauses because I'm hopeful that my simultaneous perusing and pausing will lead this young lady / future world leader / thoracic surgeon to the twenty-eight possible solutions surrounding her.

And now I'm thinking: God, please don't ever let me get sick.

In the spirit of Intervention, I decide to demonstrate actual investment in her plight because I realize that she may very well decide to pursue medicine as a future course of study. And if she stays local, I may one day find myself on her operating table.
Try another computer.
The immediate sense of relief she experienced is, at some level, hard to quantify here, but I'll paraphrase her comments:
Sweet Lord, it's a miracle! I am saved! You have set me free! My paper is spooling through the printer with vigor! You, good sir, great teacher, have shown me the light and for this, I am eternally grateful. God has sent you to me, to us, this school, this sacred bastion of higher learning. Thank you, thank you!
But the part I'll remember most; the part that will resonate with me for days and months upcoming, would be when she uttered this most majestic conclusion:
So, can you write me that pass?
Problem solving. I hear it, read it, and think about it on a daily basis. But I'll be a goosed-rooster if we've really empowered our kids to embrace its liberating, self-gratifying potential.


Farfisa said...

Students are peering around their computers right now to see why I'm giggling. And I can tell you that each one has done something quite similar.

Otoh, sympathy for the students because printers are, quite frankly, instruments of the devil.

Kristin Hokanson said...

OH I feel your pain. I can't tell you the number of times I have "SAVED" a student because they didn't have a blue folder, and the pinwheel is circling or...stop a the desk, I am sure the librarian will write you one ;-)