Search Box

Links to Culture Cafe Episodes!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tales from the Shokuinshitsu Vol. 4

Tales from the Shokuinshitsu

Volume 4: In which it's not always about her, but it usually is.

I saw a wireless router up on a shelf when I first arrived this school about 2 years ago. For the longest time I didn't even ask about connecting to the WiFi because there was really no need. There's a LAN cable that runs to each person's work laptop, and I would never be doing anything on my phone that required heavy internet use - checking the dictionary, mailing myself a picture for work, etc.

So as the Beatles once said, I let it be.

One day I brought my own laptop to school. I needed to do something which required software not available on the work laptops. I plugged in the LAN cable assuming that it would connect without issue, but it did not. I know now that there was (and is) a proxy running, which meant I couldn't hop on to the internet unless I knew the IP address and port they were running it through. It's not complicated but it meant that I would not be using the school's internet unless I was told these specific values.

So I availed myself of the classic wisdom, "Ask and you shall receive."

Exactly one half of that worked.

I was told that there was no WiFi, it didn't work. At the time I was doing my best to play nice and thus really didn't question the things that I was told. There was no reason not to believe them so I took that answer in earnest.

At some point down the road, after the first teacher swap happened, one of the new teachers asked about the internet as well. I listened carefully to the ensuing conversation. It wasn't complicated at all though. That teacher was given a password to punch into her personal iPad, she thanked the one who relayed it to her and went back to work.

So there was WiFi and it does work. That's lie number one.

After that, I asked other teachers about using the internet, but none of them knew much about computers so they said they didn't know the password, or how they were signed in, just that they were. Frustrating, and confirmation of the first lie.

The school eventually bought a series of iPads for use in the classes. I have an iPad myself and I like it, but I'd be the first to admit that an iPad without WiFi is fairly useless. One of them popped up in an English class, and I saw that glorious monochrome triple rainbow, which could only mean one thing. By that point there were several things I knew: one, there is WiFi here; second, there are iPads; third, those iPads are definitely connected to the WiFi. I thought I would try again to ask about the internet but this time I framed it in terms of my iPad, reasoning it would make for a stronger case.

I think the accepted term here is "Swing and a miss."

I had a legitimate reason to use my iPad too. I wanted to browse the bookstore and download a picture book, because my kindergartens tend to send faxes on the day of, rather than in advance. I try to prepare many things, but sometimes (believe it or not) our plans do not always align when we fail to discuss them ahead of time.

The response was different, but still a no. I was told that it's very complicated to set up the WiFi. And as a compromise I was offered a cable to connect my iPad to the computer so I could transfer files that way. I offered my thanks but added that I had my own cables.

That response was really interesting though. I'd be willing to admit that possibly, there was no WiFi or it did not work when I first showed up. That's entirely plausible, but extremely unlikely. I know what routers are and people had been using the WiFi. This defense only confirmed that the first excuse was a lie. It's hardly a defense at all, to be honest. It was worse than a, "No," and far worse than being told I could not use it. This was, "There is, but I don't want to tell you."

Just last Friday there was an IT guy here who had been replacing the router, and possibly the modems. He announced to the staff that the password for the internet was different now. One of the teachers immediately shot up, "What?! Tell me what it is now!" He told the teacher, and I quickly jotted down as much as I could of the information being relayed to her. This is when I learned that there is a proxy server. The teacher complained that it was much easier before with just a password.

Ah yes, the smoking gun.

It was only a password? All the lies.

I was annoyed. A proxy is not that hard to figure out; one just punches in some extra numbers and it's done. The crux of my angst was centered on how much people had danced around telling me the WiFi information.

And to what end, I wondered. I would've been more comfortable with someone telling me that I can't use it because I'm American. Flat out discrimination would feel better than just being lied to. At least one of those two is honest.

As all the teachers learned the new information for using the WiFi I sat down and tried my best to write the parts of the IP, port, and password they were reiterating out loud as they typed them in. Everyone trailed off though and I could only get half of it. I heard the IT guy mention that the password was on the back of the modem - they didn't change the factory one. I went up and took a picture of it with my phone. At the very least I would have that piece of the puzzle.

One of the very new teachers (who is quite nice) had just set it up on her phone. I approached her and asked if she could pass the details along to me. In an adorably meek way she replied, "Someone else did it for me." Another teacher, the one who initially complained about the change, heard and came over. I had my phone at the right screen, ready to put in the remaining parts, but she just took over. She went back and then started hitting buttons on my phone as if I didn't know what I was doing.

Thus, the circle of frustration was complete.

But at least I have really slow WiFi now.


No comments:

Post a Comment