How much direct contact do you guys have with the kids?
Having taught all the year 7 IT lessons for over 10 years until my metamorphosis into 100% Network Manager was completed last year, I know pretty much all the kids in the school, which is a huge advantage in keeping some semblance of order in Computer Rooms and keeping the system running pretty smoothly. Also my IT Technician spends a lot of time getting to know the kids, as she does some classroom support for IT lessons.
By comparison, the Science Technicians hide away for as much of the time as possible in their Prep Rooms and seem to avoid contact with kids at all costs.
Also, does anyone else encourage their student geeks to help out with techie tasks? Over the years I've gained huge benefit from kids helping out. All ages, from Y7 to Y13. Little jobs like stocking up printer paper, right up to serious stuff like setting up web servers etc. If nothing else, it gives you contact with the kids who might give you maximum grief with hacking etc.
Over the years I've tested security systems by challenging them to crack security - they just can't resist telling you how they did it! With Reborn Cards and Netware they've not managed anything more than minor success!
I have a fair amount of contact with the kids. We have the usual 5000 kids a day saying "Sir, I forgot my password" or "Sir, I can't save my work" (My usual reply to that one is "OK, why do you have four copies of a 8MB Word document with a single picture inside it and all those MP3s in your area? Huh? Huh? HUH?" They really need to teach the kids at our place how to use the search tool and that deleting "loads of stuff" tends to do very little when you have a 43MB BMP sitting in your area and the loads of stuff you're deleting are cookies that are 1-2kb each but I digress).
I also get asked to show kids how to use a certain feature of software (the latest was the FTP upload feature in Dreamweaver. Oh I got so fed up with that).
The quality of student IT geek at my school is very lacking. There are perhaps five kids who are proficent enough to be of any use and only one of those who I'd actually trust to do anything. The last student who used to hang around us left last year so there you have it. That said, the one who managed to get around the command prompt restrictions by opening command.com in Excel impressed me quite a lot. However he did get a bit upset when I disabled VBScript in Office for him :P
I oversee the homework club which is ran for about 40mins every lunchtime so I see a fair few then, but apart from that, there's not much in my job at the moment that needs me to be involved with them more than I am now.
We have a high profile with the kids. They see us out and about doing jobs and often speak to us regarding downloading music.
In the past we've run computer building clubs and at the moment have a year 10 apprentice who helps out one afternoon a week.
Geeks are few and far between. Mostly they know something and big it up because their friend don't so that they appear to be computer wizzez. I always put staff right who say that kids are more expert than them by explaining that they arn't, they are just less afraid
Here's a tip for passwords. With agreeement of Head of ICT or SMT, charge a 10p fine for password changes. Then use the money collected to buy things like CD's etc.. The number of password changes soon drops!!!!
Part of my job when I started was to assist in IT lessons, which was a good way to get to know the kids. Plus I ran an after school session every night where they do as they please basically - a fun session [didn't stop the vandalism the rest of the time tho' ].
Now I do neither as my workload has increased so much and there are no extra staff promised [me : 300 PCs : 900 kids]
I started with a student helper - we stayed 'till 7pm most nights so the school benefitted a hell of a lot - that lasted 4 years.
Our present Head didn't like a student involved in running the system so has put a complete stop on it, and I sort of agree in a way. Kids have too much peer pressure on them to subvert the system. A good kid I had helping me for a week last year installed a password cracking tool onto a machine I opened up for him to change a network card.
So I think this is very bad practice - and should never be done. If you have that much time you can keep your 'helper' in check then you don't need the help really. Normally there's no way to keep them from knowledge/ access they shouldn't ever have.
Never trust them, we had one a few years ago "help out" with the network.
Was a disaster. He created tons of mail accounts and submitted it to "the spammers".
Would not recommened any pupil use for network stuff. Every Higher adv higher computing pupil is a wannabe hacker as well.
All fun and games
We have lots of contact, we run a networked game at lunch times which we join in as well as supervising a couple of class rooms, teachers usually get us to sort problems with the kids, always say Hi to them in the corridors (that always puts them off balance!) plus have been on some school trips, especially Y7, so they all know who I am. I have found once a few know you it spreads, though that is not always a benefit.
Not sure how it would work with out the contact as you would be just another bod. I know the science technicians don't understand how they have to fight down the corridor but a loud excuse me from us get us a path, along with a lot of hellos. Though to be fair they just don't have the opportunities to interact we do.
Definitely agree with the comments about know all students though. I have to stop myself laughing out loud sometimes as a couple try to have a technical conversation between themselves when ever we are in ear shot, mixing as many TLAs as possible in as they can. You get some great combinations.
I have to admit I was given an admin account at College, though it was a small college, and I may have done the odd inappropriate thing, but nothing to comprimise the system. THis was mainly becuase I had adopted a small cluster that was generally abused and kept it going while it had been forgotten during an upgrade. Ohhhh memories... Those were the days.
At my old school (when I was a pupil at a diff school) I have to admit I did not need admin rights :P I just hacked into a few things, stupidly showed some others how to do it and they did all the destruction. Oh joy, the detention
Without admin rights he is fit to take machines apart, fit net network cards, clean mice (you've got to start somewhere afterall), learn to crimp cables, understand the basics of TCP/IP, realise what backups are and how/why you do them. Accept that infared is not a reliable form of connectivity. See why you have to document things (and do some of the less interesting stuff for us). Learn about health and safety by tidying up cables and 1000's of other crap joey jobs thatits nice to farm out to a willing slave.
If you let kids into the machines do you give them the bios password? They can then boot from a live CD/ usb drive and use hacking tools from there.
With me i'm always having to ask kids to leave the room - look away from the screen etc etc. Then there's knowledge of what goes on - what monitoring we're doing/ using. It's like having a spy in the camp.
I just find it very difficult to keep helpers out of stuff I don't want them to see. I'm too busy to give them such close supervision.
I have 1 very keen and very quiet and respectfull student helping ouit a couple of nights a week - always good at getting out of the way in sesitive situations/ door codes/ passwords etc - but still he askes the odd question like what are you monitoring, have you got this on at the moment - all stuff I know he can feed back to others that want to subvert the system - maybe not malitiously but deliberately against their AUP conditions which are there for a reason after all.
I have one room to work from. I lock out my PC and server console when he's in the room alone. It just means you've got to be incredibly tight with your security.
We have quite alot of contact with the kids, directly through ICT problems, and from time to time more relaxed contact regarding footie results or music/tv etc.
I actually find it quite useful because of everyone in the school, the kids have the potential to cause the most hassle, so I find it kinda helps to keep them thinking you're a pretty cool guy/gal. In some occassions I find that it often gives us an extra "authority" that some teachers lack. On occassion for example, a teacher wont be able to deal with an unruly teen, yet when I ask them to behave they do so. I guess not through respect of an authority figure, but more because well "if he has asked I will do it cause he's ok" kind of thing.
Of course this has to be balanced with also being firm when needs be. Though again, I find they accept the firm/harsh/punishment more easily when they have a better image of you.
OK we don't even let him know our first names were that tight on security.
At my last school thay managed to get the head of ICT's password by haveing a team of students who's job it was to watch part of the keyboard and remember whick keys he pressed. They then assembled his password from that.
I always take the keyboard of the desk and turn my back to a wall and type the password with the keyboard a good 5 1/2 feet plus in the air.