Saturday, January 15, 2011

Report Cards...

Do you hear the scary music in the background?! I do... it's like the theme song to Jaws or some other action/horror flick. I hear it every time that the word report cards are mentioned! haha Actually, I enjoy writing reports. I enjoy finding ways to tell parents about their children's successes and challenges. I like sharing about what my students are good and capable of in my classroom and social observations. I am that teacher, the one who loves parent/teacher conferences and who loves to write report cards...

Well, until this year that is. You see, I am used to working in Microsoft Office and am super familiar with the programs and formatting etc. But my school does not use Microsoft products (unless you are at the administrative level, and then they don't even all have it). The teachers and students use a free office program called Open Office and it comes through a program called UBUNTU (I know, fun to say... one of my friends confesses to having a secret crush on the name of the program and in my incredible frustration I disagreed... but if I am honest, I do too). I understand that schools pay a HUGE amount of money for licensing fees with companies like Microsoft and it can be a crippling factor to budgets etc, but I am here to tell you that UBUNTU is not the answer! The two programs are not compatible, even though they look fairly similar in the word processing document stage. Their formatting is different and it can be very difficult to get a word document to print out properly once you've opened it with open office.

Why am I giving you all this background? Well... it's report card time (there goes the music again) and I have been typing like a mad woman into our report card templates. It works out to about 14 paragraphs per student and I have just 16 students (thank goodness for small class sizes here). Here is where it gets "interesting." The report card template created by the administration (and I can't even blame them for this because if I had Word, I'd use it too... it's better) was created in Microsoft Office Word. And it is a lovely template and straight forward to use, until you have to use it in Open Office from UBUNTU (which I have to do). Every time I save one of my gloriously written reports some strange merging of cells takes place and ruins the whole document. Yesterday the tech guys at school had a look and were as confused and frustrated as I (although, perhaps not because they hadn't written all this work and reworked the documents a minimum of 3 times each to try and solve the issues). So what it comes down to is this: I have to create a new document for each student and cut and paste all the text from the reports into the new template. *sigh* That's a lot of extra, meaningless, busy and frustrating work when if we all had Microsoft it would have been fine... or if the admin used UBUNTU like the rest of us...

2 comments:

AprilMay said...

Um. That is HORRIBLE!!! Yuck, yuck, YUCK! I feel for you!! :(

Megan said...

Sorry Angela! That's frustrating. Maybe your pain will hopefully help with future changes to decisions regarding software or templates. I know I've found that a bottle of wine can help ease the pain during and after this process. Hang in there!