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A Lesson Learned (the hard way)

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It was yesterday (Friday)

I had taught my first class at 9 and was heading to my next class, across campus at ten. As usual I was around 3 minutes late. Walking across campus takes a while.

Even though my 9 and 10 O’clock classes are the same subject, the atmosphere is entirely different. I enjoy both classes, but my teaching style needs to adapt for my ten o’clock class since they seem to need…err…more accountability and structure. Yes, that’s it.

Let me back up by saying my entire life is placed on my little black zip drive. 

I use him for every class. I upload documents and powerpoints and depend on him.
More than I should.
He worked fine in my 9 o’clock class and showed my class multiple resources that he held.
My 10 o’clock class was lively. Excited that it was Friday and just lively.
“What’s on the agenda today, Mrs. Phile?” one of my students asked.
I was sweating. I had been aimlessly trying to pull up documents from my flash drive and my computer was not recognizing it. Nothing. It was like I didn’t have my flash drive in at all. It worked just 30 minutes prior.
I explained how I was having some technical difficulties and just give me a minute…
Then I asked if anyone had their flash drive that I could “test” to see if it was the computer that was the issue. Yes. A girl in the front handed me her flashdrive, shaped as an elephant. I pulled off the elephant’s “trunk” and snapped it into my computer. Da ding. Came right up. A feeling of dread came over me. It was my flash drive. There was a problem.
I handed back the little elephant to my student and proceeded with class. I tried to remember what I had planned to teach. I stumbled through some concepts, writing a lot on the board and praying my flashdrive still had some life in it. Enough to pull all my documents off.
After class I raced upstairs to my boss’s office and told her my “horror” story. She called an IT guy on campus and left a message for him to contact me. She told me not to worry. He did miracles.
An hour passed. No call. I checked to make sure my phone worked.
Another hour passed. I googled “my flash drive won’t work” and read a half dozen articles on the subject. I tried to apply some of the tips I learned, at least the ones I could understand. I wiggled the device. I restarted the computer. Several times. I examined the flashdrive. It looked okay.
Another hour passed.
I taught another class. I asked my class if anyone had ever had an issue where their flashdrive wouldn’t show up on their computer.
They informed me that flashdrives don’t last long and if you yank them out of your computer they might die sooner. A computer science kid said, “You have your stuff saved somewhere else…don’t you?”
My eyes got big.
No. I did not.
I really couldn’t say it though. I shrugged and moved on with my lesson. I tried to explain compare and contrast essays, all the while terrified that I had lost everything.
After my class I raced upstairs to ask my boss if she had heard from the IT guy. “No” she said. “Let me call him again.”
He answered! Yes, I would be right over…
Shew! There may be hope….
I headed over to another building, one I had never been in. “He” was surrounded by all kinds of cords and contraptions I had never seen. “He” looked smart. And tired. I hated to bother him. I told him what happened and handed him my device.
Hmmmm….he plugged it in two different computers. Nothing.
One more. Something. He held it tight as my documents flashed before our eyes.
It was a joint effort. He had to hold it tight while I pressed certain keys he said.
Around 30 minutes later…
He said, “here’s your documents. I will put them on a CD drive and promise never to use this again. Either get a new one or save your stuff another way.” He held up the little black wedge.
“I Promise! Thank you!” What relief I had.
What I learned: ALWAYS save important stuff in MULTIPLE places. I never want to “feel” that dread again.
Another thing: I probably won’t use a flashdrive much again. It caused a lot of anxiety because first of all,  I was always losing it and then it turned out to be not as trustworthy as I thought.
My husband told me something about saving stuff in “the cloud” whatever that is….yeah, I think I will check that out…
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