Teaching Democracy and Citizenship


One of our First grade teachers has been teaching ‘Democracy and Citizenship’ recently. As part of this lesson the students wrote letters to local community helpers to inquire about their career as a school helper. I was one of the persons chosen to receive two of those letters. I feel privileged to have been considered a school community helper worthy enough to be asked about my career in helping the students learn.

Being a Technology Support Professional I thought that the best way to answer would be with technology, here on my blog. I’ve copied the questions to here from E and R (first initials only to protect their privacy) exactly as they wrote them:

Dear Mr. Ebersole,

Thank you for being a good community helper. How do you fix all our computers? What else do you do the rest of the day? Why do you like this job so much?

Your friend…E

Dear Mr. Ebersole,

How do you fix the computers?
How do you fix the active board?
How long have you been working here?
What training did you have to do for this job?

Your Friend…R

These are great questions! I am truly impressed with the depth and thoughtfulness of the questions.

Let me start with the duplicate question: “How do you fix (all our) the computers?

Well, a lot of things can be wrong with a computer, like when you get sick. When you go to the doctor they ask you a lot of questions to determine what is wrong and give you the proper medicine to get better. The same thing applies to fixing a computer. I get a request to come look at a computer, I ask what is wrong if the request doesn’t have enough information and then sit down to see why the computer is sick.  Once I find out what is wrong by looking at it, I use the knowledge that I learned from studying computers at school and reading books about computers to fix it.

The next question is “What else do you do the rest of the day?

I do a lot of things during the day at school. I answer email, and I watch the fifth graders before school and make sure the students get on the proper buses in the afternoon. I also fix broken printers, teachers computers and the ActivBoards. I also do things like you do as students, for example I study more about computers to get even better at fixing them, I go to lunch and I have recess! Sometimes I go to meetings and training classes at the district offices. I even have weekly meetings with the principal to talk about the technology at our school so that we can have the best computers and technology for you to learn with.

Our next question is “Why do you like this job so much?

There are two important reasons why I like my job so much. The first is that I like working with computers so much that it isn’t a job, instead it is a lot of fun. I believe that you should always work your hardest at anything you do, but you should work at what you like the most. The second reason I like my job so much are you, the students! I enjoy seeing you working on the computers or using the ActivBoard. I like to see you get everything you need to grow up having fun and becoming the best kids you can. Helping you makes it fun.

Let me move onto the question “How do you fix the active board?

Two years ago during our summer break I worked for the company that installed our ActivBoards so that I could learn as much as I could about them. That has come in very handy because I have been able to fix problems with the ActivBoards easier when something goes wrong with them. The ActivBoards are like an extension of your teachers computer and the TV/VCR/DVD player. Using my knowledge of computers and the VCR/DVD I can fix the ActivBoards the same as I do the computers.

We are getting toward the end of our questions. Here is the next to the last “How long have you been working here?

I have been at our school since October 2005, while I have worked for the School District since April 2003.

Here is our last question “What training did you have to do for this job?

Over the course of my education I have taken many courses in computer hardware, software, programming, education, political science, history, science and math. All of those courses have helped me in this job, but the computer courses, the programming and the math have been the most helpful. I also do continuing education in online courses, work (like the ActivBoard installer position) and a lot of reading. I also have a certification as an ActivBoard AB+2 installer and technician. I am currently working to gain a certification from Microsoft and my A+ certification.

I would like to stress that your education never stops. You need to continually strive to learn as much as you can to be the best at what you do. A very successful man that I admire said When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot. Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting? That is from Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonalds Corporation.

Thank you for your questions, E & R. I hope that you all learned something from my answers, but even more from writing the questions.

Your Friend….Mr. Ray

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