Last week I had to go to my mother's bank to sort something out. Thus it was that I entered into a sort of Escheresque landscape...
I used to bank there myself, but it is so dreadful I thought, in the end, I could do without the stress.
Anyway, before I went I ascertained what I would need by way of documentation. Of course, when I arrived, I was told that I needed something else. Here's how the conversation (well, some of it), went:
Me: I don't have time to go through all this again. Can I just drop it in during the week.
Bank: It depends who is on duty.
Bank: Because I'm the one who dealt with it.
Me: But you have a computer system. Can't you make a note on the system.
Me: Why not?
Bank: Because then I would need to be on duty to retrieve it.
Me: Why don't we do as much as we can now, and then you make a note about where we've got to, and then someone else can take over if necessary during the week.
Bank: I can't do that.
Me: Why not?
Bank: We don't usually do it like that.
Me: Presumably that's because you usually give out the correct information when booking an appointment? May I see the manager please?
Manager: I've suggested that we do as much as we can now, and make a note about where we've got to, and then someone else can take over if necessary during the week.
Me: Brilliant idea. Now why didn't I think of that?
How might you use this as a starting point for discussion with your students? Or even with your colleagues, in relation to how you handle requests from staff or phone calls from parents about ICT?
This is an expanded version of an article first published on 20th January 2006.