Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 3

(This post is part of a series about the weird stuff teachers have in their desk drawers. You can read more about this project here, and I hope you'll share the stories of the weird stuff you have in your desk too!)

Glasses from LensCrafters, circa 1999.

I don't wear glasses. At least not regularly...not yet.

But I have a pair of glasses in or on my desk all the time.

This goes back to my first year of teaching, when I was serving as de facto Technology Coordinator at a relatively small Christian school. I taught 6th-8th math, and a high school computer class, and in all my "spare time" as a first year teacher, I kept the school's collection of (mostly donated) IBM 486 and Pentium computers running to the best of my ability.

Looking back, I don't know how I made it through that first year. It was by the grace of God, and an incredibly supportive wife, and two great mentors at school who really encouraged me, I think.

I first got these glasses in the spring of 1999. I was regularly working late into the evening, burning the midnight oil, as they say, to keep the school's computer lab functional. I was tired, and stressed out, and getting headaches--a lot of headaches.

Finally my wife convinced me that I should at least visit an eye doctor; she was concerned that all this time in front of screens was straining my vision. 

So I went. And the eye doctor said I did have signs of eye strain. He encouraged me to do some eye exercises (which sounded kind of crazy at the time, but it did help) and prescribed a pair of glasses for me to wear when I was going to be in front of a computer for some time. I honestly think they were just gentle magnifying glasses with an anti-glare coating. But they did help with the headaches. I'm not sure if it was the placebo effect, or if they really made a physiological difference, but my headaches were reduced.

I couldn't keep doing the computer thing though, and I let my principal know it. For the following school year, I negotiated removing the computer teaching aspects of my job, and the school actually hired some one (part time) to manage the hardware and software issues, so that was off of my plate too. I may sound negative about the whole experience; that isn't really fair--I am actually thankful I had the opportunity. Much later in my career, I took on a full-time Technology Coordinator role in a different school, and I had learned some important lessons from that year about working with technology...and my fellow teachers.

It's a challenge, striking the balance between what you are capable of doing, and what you should do. I realize now that I was devoting far too much time an energy to that computer lab, though I couldn't see it at the time. 

I still have the glasses, and I still wear them from time to time, especially if I know I'm going to be at my computer for quite some time. In fact, I'm wearing them as I write this post.

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