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Windows Thread, Help! overworked teacher/sysadmin in Technical; Hi, sorry for the melodramatic title! i am a former sysadmin in a private company (9 years) turned teacher. I ...
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    Help! overworked teacher/sysadmin

    Hi,
    sorry for the melodramatic title!
    i am a former sysadmin in a private company (9 years) turned teacher. I took over the school network in my primary school when i started teaching 5 years ago.
    I basically set about implementing best practices with standard images, server, AD, security etc. We have about 50 computers - 18 teacher laptops (win7) for IWBs, 20 old PCs (XP) in classrooms, 2 old xp pcs in the secretary's office. I have one Windows 2008 R2 server, about 2 years old now. We will be getting a trolley with 30 laptops in a few months. I am a complete one man band, no other outside IT support, i fix everything! crazy! and teach! I have everything locked down except some of the older classroom pcs that are not even joined to the domain. Teachers don't have local admin rights on their laptops. I try to roll out software using AD but as we all know most software doesn't come with msi, especially educational software! I had plenty of time in my old job to spend on repackaging/testing but not now.I am a teacher in the school and spend many hours outside of school troubleshooting, installing software, changing projector lamps, and all the usual things that an IT dept would do. It is reaching a point now where i don't really have the time for a lot of the work. I was considering giving the teachers local admin rights to their laptops. The thinking is that at least i wouldn't have to visit them to install software. I know the risks that come with this. I have symantec antivirus and firewall that can be locked down separately and controlled centrally and i can still control a lot with GPO. I could use the school AUP to warn them of the dangers of installing software etc. and maybe warn them that if i have to spend anymore than 30 mins fixing their laptop, i will reimage it and they will have to install anything else themselves.
    Another thought i had was something like specops which allegedly allows for easy installation of legacy apps. I'm seeing the laptop trolley with the extra 30 machines coming soon and this will increase my workload. i'm sure situations will arise where software will need to be installed on these machines and i won't have the time to do 30 after school!
    Your thoughts are appreciated fellow sysadmins :-)
    thanks in advance.
    john

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I would say the school needs to invest in more IT support or someone to take over from you so that you can get back to teaching.

    Ben

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    johnnyreb (27th September 2011)

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    just as Ben said. A day a week Tech should be able to look after all that and leave you to be able to Teach.

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    aerospacemango's Avatar
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    I cannot condone giving teachers local admin rights on their laptops. The inherent risks in this far outweigh the benefits.

    In my experience, once a teacher has rights, they'll start putting stuff all over it, and before you know it, you're re-imaging it anyway.

    It may well be worth speaking to your HT about the situation, and how swamped you are/have been. The school NEEDS to invest in its IT department, and either pay you more, and take away the teaching, or get you an assistant/ junior techie.

    In your current state, if you are happy giving them local admin, then do it, as you sound as if you're aware of the risks, anyway.

    Good luck, fella......You need any advice, keep popping your head in!

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    johnnyreb (27th September 2011)

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    TechSupp's Avatar
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    Hey, I'm glad I'm not the only one, thought you were describing my job! I'm in the same position here although I work in two schools doing the same thing. Just remember there are only so may hours in a day and so many of them are yours and yours only! They have to recognise time off schedule for 'techy' bits is a necessity not something that you will just manage to fit in.

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    Thanks Ben. Good point. I suppose I quite enjoy the work to a point.
    Now it's getting too much though.
    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    I would say the school needs to invest in more IT support or someone to take over from you so that you can get back to teaching.

    Ben

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    A day a week sounds good. As long as he did things the way I wanted them shouldn't be a problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    just as Ben said. A day a week Tech should be able to look after all that and leave you to be able to Teach.

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    In an ideal world you are right but in reality I may just do it. In a lot of schools i go into they dont even use user accounts!Appreciate the advice and support Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by aerospacemango View Post
    I cannot condone giving teachers local admin rights on their laptops. The inherent risks in this far outweigh the benefits.

    In my experience, once a teacher has rights, they'll start putting stuff all over it, and before you know it, you're re-imaging it anyway.

    It may well be worth speaking to your HT about the situation, and how swamped you are/have been. The school NEEDS to invest in its IT department, and either pay you more, and take away the teaching, or get you an assistant/ junior techie.

    In your current state, if you are happy giving them local admin, then do it, as you sound as if you're aware of the risks, anyway.

    Good luck, fella......You need any advice, keep popping your head in!

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    Thanks for reply. Do the school give you time off for IT stuff? How does it work for you. I got one hour a week last year which was so small, I could hardly get a thing done. They can't really pay me as it's a conflict of interest. I have the ICT post in the school which carries a very small extra payment but to be honest the ICT post holder is not meant to be the sysadmin and support.
    Quote Originally Posted by TechSupp View Post
    Hey, I'm glad I'm not the only one, thought you were describing my job! I'm in the same position here although I work in two schools doing the same thing. Just remember there are only so may hours in a day and so many of them are yours and yours only! They have to recognise time off schedule for 'techy' bits is a necessity not something that you will just manage to fit in.

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    What we need is more people to update the wiki with packaging instructions, upload WIX files etc

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    Sam_Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    A day a week sounds good. As long as he did things the way I wanted them shouldn't be a problem.
    Heh that's always the problem isn't it! Moan about too much work but then when you delegate you end up having to double check everything is done to your standards anyway.

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    Why can't they pay you? I have a friend who is ICT co-ord in a first school, she teaches all the IT and then does all the techy stuff in the afternoons, and is paid for both jobs. As for what you might need, I would suggest someone to do a couple of hours a day rather than one day a week- I used to do that in a first school and it was enough to keep on top of things and it meant that I could do the firefighting and take the weight off the ICT co-ord. TBH, at least around here, techs are paid so little that it really wouldnt be much out of the school's budget.

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    My first question would be are you employed to look after the network side of things? If so then how were you duties split when you started? If it was that the IT support side was only minor thing in your job which has grown over time, maybe now is a good time to point out that you no longer have the time to do that AND your teaching.

    It sounds to me like you have too much work and too little time so I would guess you only options are to reduce the hours in one area you work in. Either way requires additional staffing. The problem with providing staff with the ability to do more is it can cause more problems if they do not know what they are doing. It's not such a bad thing if you have the support that can cope with any additional problems, but in your case I think you could create long term problems trying to fix a short term solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    Thanks for reply. Do the school give you time off for IT stuff? How does it work for you. I got one hour a week last year which was so small, I could hardly get a thing done. They can't really pay me as it's a conflict of interest. I have the ICT post in the school which carries a very small extra payment but to be honest the ICT post holder is not meant to be the sysadmin and support.
    And 1 hour a week is not enough to do tech support. You need a dedicated person employed to do that. But remember if your employment changes to PT Teacher/PT Tech then you should be paid seperately for each role and the tech position will probably be on a lot less scale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    I try to roll out software using AD but as we all know most software doesn't come with msi, especially educational software!
    Instead, simply have an install script that runs after the reimage operation to automatically install everything. Once you have it sorted you can generally image and install a new / faulty machine in a couple of hours. Every software installation operation becomes a reimage-and-run-the-installer operation, but that shouldn't really matter too much.

    --
    David Hicks

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