Last week Boo had to attend substitute training in preparation for the start of school. This man worked thirty years in the classroom and as an administrator guiding thousands of high school kids toward graduation. Now, he substitutes as an elementary P.E. teacher (when he feels like it) doing hula hoop games and Kidz Bop dance-a-thons.
This year, being what it is, his training was on Zoom. Boo has never been on Zoom and didn’t really know where it was. This is a true story. Most of us recognize the little blue square with a camera symbol, but Boo was a novice.
“I need your help,” he said. “Where do I go for my Zoom meeting?”
“What do you mean? Like the computer room???”
“I mean, where is it?”
We sat side by side and I showed him the icon, talked about the meeting number and passcode etc. I agreed to be with him and help him “get on” his meeting.
Their first instructions said to turn off the camera and mic.
“But, I put on a nice shirt and everything,” he said. “How will they know I’m here?”
“It might be too distracting to have such a handsome guy on camera.” I smiled.
However, two folks did not follow directions and their faces were beside the presenter. I became terribly engrossed watching them get up for water and coffee, primp in the camera and one even picked his nose.
Meanwhile, Boo, sitting straight in his chair said, “Can they see me?”
“No, I turned off your camera.”
“But, those guys are on…”
“They shouldn’t be.”
“I wish I was.”
“Maybe another day,” I said.
The professional development progressed, but Boo was losing attention, staring out the window and checking his fingernails.
Suddenly, we heard, “Type your response in the chat box, now.” Wide eyed, he let out a few choice words and said, “Where is this chat room?”
“Ah, it’s a box, and you click on the word chat then type in your response.
By the time he completed his answer, the speaker was on a new topic…”You will be receiving a virtual backpack with information pertinent to your daily check in at school. Download now.”
I leaned over and downloaded the folders.
“What did you just do?”
“I got your backpack.”
His eyebrows shot up.
“It’s a virtual backpack, Boo. I downloaded the information for you.”
“But, where is it?”
“It’s in our download file.”
“With the backpack? Remember last year we got a coffee mug and the year before a grocery bag with AISD on it? I’m excited about a backpack.”
“Honey, you really won’t get an actual backpack. It’s virtual.”
One and a half hours later, an accidental disconnect, much cussing and a virtual break-out session, it was over.
“Maybe, I should work at Home Depot,” he said.
“Don’t be discouraged, Boo. This was just your first Zoom. It will get better. I think you did a great job!”
He sighed and with his sad looking baby blues, he looked at me to ask, “I wonder what color backpack I’ll get?”