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General Chat Thread, Am I Rubbish? in General; Originally Posted by Zorba I should say no more often. Definitely, just make sure you explain that you are snowed ...
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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I should say no more often.
    Definitely, just make sure you explain that you are snowed under so they don't think you are just getting belligerent.

    Perhaps explain in a polite but firm way to the one who refuses to do anything that she needs to follow the simple trouble shooting steps herself. If she doesn't then take slightly longer each time to respond and then make it obvious just how quickly she would have got the system working if she had done that first. Also lay on the "that's no problem" more thickly if it wasn't something she would be reasonably expected to resolve herself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    We end up burning CD's downloading photos off staff cameras setting up projectors in rooms due to timetable c$%&ups at the last minute etc.
    Along the lines of the above, perhaps send an email to all staff informing them that as you are so busy certain requests will in future be refused. Show staff how to burn CDs, get pictures off cameras, etc.


    And to answer your question, no you're not rubbish. You just need to prioritise, be less helpful and make sure everyone is informed appropriately just why you are doing so.

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    [QUOTE=Zorba;486816]Hi somabc,

    PC's are locked down tighter than a gnats chuff. I think we are just too helpful and I should say no more often. We end up burning CD's downloading photos off staff cameras setting up projectors in rooms due to timetable c$%&ups at the last minute etc.

    Are there any other techs in departments?
    Any admin staff?
    Get someone else to setup projectors.
    Setup someone else with a cd burner.
    Another idea - make sure you get equipment with long onsite warranties - you can then call them out to fix projectors/pcs.
    Hope you get it sorted - been in similar situation after consultants came into a previous school and wrecked everyhing
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    Feeling a bit disaffected and un-appreciated.
    That's the Technician Condition, isn't it (a la the 'human condition'). Especially in schools.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I think we are just too helpful and I should say no more often. We end up burning CD's downloading photos off staff cameras
    We're a little bit like that at our place, but we're getting better at saying no when we're busy. As has been commented on already, this is definitely the kind of stuff you should be saying no to. Departments have DAs for this kind of thing, and if they don't know how to do it, show them or point them to a decent tutorial on the web.

    When you're overloaded as you are, you can't be expected to be a dogsbody to people who should be able to do these things themselves - and would if they didn't think they could get away with palming it off onto you.

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    I know it's hard to get agreement on but one thing that may really help those who feel snowed under is to agree internal service level agreements with your SMT. It worked for us a while back and now we can provide a service catalogue so that everyone knows what to expect.

    It doesn't of course stop those who thing they are the exception but it does formalise what's expected of you.

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    BJG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I think we are just too helpful and I should say no more often. We end up burning CD's downloading photos off staff cameras setting up projectors in rooms...
    Sounds like you simply don't have time for this kind of stuff. I would show people how to do things the first time, and then leave them to it. 1st priority has to be technical support, not admin - you can't let yourself get roped into doing other people's jobs for them. Concentrate on advice and instruction in the first instance, only do stuff yourself if you have to. Whenever people used to ask me to do something, I always replied with: "I'll show you how to do it..."

    (All this is easier said than done...I should apply it more myself...)
    Last edited by BJG; 26th March 2010 at 02:30 PM.

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply everyone. I guess I knew most of the answers already but nice to have a vent and get others views. Just need to bite the bullet and practice saying Nnnn Nnnnn Nnnn oh bu99er.

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    dayzd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I guess I knew most of the answers already
    I think everyone has this when they're stressed/angry/overworked etc...

    I know I do, I just seem to need others to reiterate it back to me every now and then before I'll calm down and do something about it!

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    You might point them to BECTA and their opinion that even on a new network a ratio of 1 to 150 computers is appropriate. Not sure how many schools are that fortunate, but certainly I think you need one more technician to make sure you providing the best support possible.

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    Thanks for starting this very useful thread Zorba,

    I tried to kick off the debate we are having here with another thread a few months ago but by not posing the question as well as you have it died in the water.

    One school I try and look after is a Emotionaly Disturbed Boys secondary level school that has over a 100 computers. I'm there a day a week but could easily spend my life there just trying to keep up to date - let alone making any progress

    It's the way ICT in schools is going, heck of an expansion and expectation change in just over 5 years.

    To me it seems like no one up the top in Education (Ministerial level and a few floors downward) has an understanding of how things have changed, expectations or how to get the job done. I think it's us folk on the ground who now need to be sending the message up that to give schools proper ICT and proper ICT support is a whole new ball game nowadays.

    I sent a message to BECTA about this earlier this week and if and when I get an answer I'll post it up here.

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    with regards to the vandalism side, have you considered putting in cameras? I know that's a task on top of everything else, but if really does seem to sort out that side of things, I know that at my old school we were spending roughly £300 a week on replacement mice and keyboards at one point, that soon stopped when the CCTV went in, leaving us to concentrate on the more pressing issues.

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    To me it seems like no one up the top in Education (Ministerial level and a few floors downward) has an understanding of how things have changed, expectations or how to get the job done. I think it's us folk on the ground who now need to be sending the message up that to give schools proper ICT and proper ICT support is a whole new ball game nowadays.
    I think the emergence of Managed Service Providers goes some way to addressing this and moves on from the single-horse town approach of the past.

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    Each school will have their own problems and some take more radical fixes than others. If we take one solution .. the unmovable MSP. They would come in, force all jobs to be logged via the helpdesk only, will not accept additional work unless it is definitely needed, will only do the stuff they are contracted to do and then grind down anyone wanting to make changes until they get into a steady state.

    Then we take the other extreme ... the school that will get in 2 more staff. 1 will end up doing the website stuff and the other will become the audio-visual specialist. The existing techie starts up routine maintenance and you concentrate on keeping servers running. Between the 4 of you there is time to tackle the backlog of tickets and then you reach steady state.

    The reality is that the unmovable MSP will lower the IT facilities as part of the fix to the problem and the extra techies will have more work thrown at them so you don't get a chance on the backlog.

    If you can go away for a day with you, your techie and a switched on member of senior leadership.

    Look at how you prioritise your activities. Look at common and recurring issues. Look at how it is decided what IT facilities are needed.

    When you have your priorities then decide how they will be communicated to staff. Look at the procedures you use for prioritisation. Remember that an incident does not always have to be fixed first time. If you need to put something to one side then do so, but you have to remember consistency.

    When you are identifying common or recurring issues look for ways of reducing them. Is it that staff need training? Do you need to change the type of hardware you are buying? Do you need to change the type of technology in use?

    Set some short targets that are achievable. If someone books a camera out and needs support downloading pictures of it then set the target of creating a FAQ to remove that requirement. If you need to set up projectors (because you are using mobile projectors) then look at the long term plans to get more projectors and ceiling mount them (or wall mount some ultra-short-throw projectors).

    Most of it is common sense stuff that you have the answers to already but don't have the time to plan for. The key thing is having Senior Leadership support. If you can also get a teacher involved in this planning who can be turned into a supporter then do so ... you then also have your change management group who can help and be the control group for major changes over the coming years, helping to tie it in with the school development plan.

    Try not to work on your own with this ... it may save some of the pain to start with but will mean longer problems long term.

    And don't be scared to stop working at home. Take the time to tell the member from SLT how much you do and that you have to stop. Use it to explain that some things will just not get done.

    Chin up ... have a chilled weekend and smile as you walk in the door on Monday morning.

  13. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    speckytecky (27th March 2010)

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    Thanks Grumbledook for taking the time to write such a long post. You are absolutely right, however with BSF around the corner I do not expect SLT to do much to address the problem and much as it pains me I think I may start looking for work elsewhere.

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    If BSF is a prospect then you need to train the SLT in how to deal with MSP bidders and the LA to get the best for the school. They need to adapt to a single point of contact, no control over priorities apart from those already agreed (or those from further negotiation), no educational input ...

    Get them to visit a few BSF schools outside of your LA to get feedback from others.

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    At my last place it was just me.........I looked after........

    850 Users (Students\Staff)
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    It was hard work but I enjoyed it, I did get stressed.

    I know how you feel.

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