Caz Connect Blog

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I recently moved into a new apartment and quickly scheduled an internet service hook-up.  Similarly to electricity, the internet is a vital home utility.  What I thought would be a relatively simple process became more and more complicated as the days progressed.  Hooking up to the internet in a brand new building became a major technical and communicative nightmare spanning 15 days with hours of miscommunication. I can happily report that I’m connected to the World Wide Web, and with this many lessons will remain with me longer than it took to “hook up.”

Within the span of two weeks, two technicians assessed my internet connection and basically reported the same thing, the cable is possibly too thick to fit through the existing conduit.  The first technician told me that I'd have to call an electrician and let him know once that was done.  I assumed he'd write up a report and submit it to the company... but he didn't.  In a few days another connection service was scheduled.

Once again, I received a call from a technician informing me that he would stop by to install service.   I asked the technician if the first technician filed a report explaining the complications and if he planned to do something different.  I was told no report was filed and he would assess the situation upon arrival.  The second technician came and found the same results.  This time I knew the questions to ask: Are you going to file a report?  When will you file a report?  What will the report state?  He answered each question and I gained the needed information.

The second technician admitted the job was too complicated for any technician and a professional electrician needs to be consulted.  He left, reminding me to call him when things were “sorted.”

And so, I needed to find an electrician that could “unclog” the conduit.  I kind of understood the problem and I was able to talk to friends and colleagues.  I reached out to a co-worker who said that she’d reach out to the contractor who built the apartment complex.  To my surprise, it was an immediate connection and response.  The contractor was super helpful and supportive.  He immediately sent someone to wire the apartment for the internet and “fish” a cable through the conduit.  (He shared that the owner of the apartment refused to get the building wired during construction because of the cost.)

Now that the physical cable was installed, a third internet technician was scheduled to connect service.  On the designated day, I waited patiently within the window of service, 8AM to noon, however no one showed up.  I called the internet company and I was told by the representative that there was no service call scheduled; however they would “be happy to” submit a request and I should hear from the technician within 72 hours.  I was furious and I pushed back stating this has been a 2-week ordeal and there must be a scheduled appointment.  The representative could not help me and I requested to speak to a supervisor.   The representative reluctantly "transferred" me to the supervisor; however in the process I was "disconnected."

I paced my apartment furiously and determined the day would not be wasted waiting for a service technician.  I decided to call the internet company… again.  This time the internet representative informed me that there was a service call scheduled but it was delayed 2 hours.  He gave me the work order number and said the technician should contact me within two hours.  I waited 2 hours and no call from the technician.  At 230PM, about a 6 hour window elapsed, no information or contact from the service technician or from the internet representative.  

I was not happy! 

I called the internet company again and this time I was told by a third representative that there was no service scheduled for Saturday because installation was completed on August 10th.  I asked the representative, “What was completed?” She told me that the installation was completed as per the report.  I asked her what the report stated and she responded, "service complete."  I assured her that I did not have wifi service and installation did not happen on August 10th.

After a five minute conversation convincing her that the installation did not happen she told me that she'd put a "rush" on the request.  I asked her to explain to me what a "rush" meant.  She professionally said you will get a call within 24 hours.  I asked and then what?  She responded you can schedule an appointment for installation.  I replied, "So the "rush" is not to get service but to schedule an appointment."    

So here I was, 15 days later with no wifi service and another "unscheduled" appointment.

At this point, I felt like I was trapped in a Seinfeld episode.  I hung up the phone asking myself, “Am I living in a sitcom or one of those "Candid Camera" shows studying human nature?  Who is testing me?”

On the 16th day after requesting internet service, taking less than 45 minutes, I was connected to the internet.

What is the lesson to be learned from this experience?  There had to be a lesson!  

As it appears, this is a rich learning experience exercising patience.  Patience is a virtue and I always claimed to happily possess an abundance of patience.  I hear my mother’s voice reminding me as a young child, “Patience my dear… patience is a virtue!”   I have had so many experiences where I needed to rely on my patience.  The middle sibling of six allowed plenty of experiences to lay a foundation for unwavering patience.  However, I'm not sure experiences, similar to the internet company and technician, contributed to strengthening my patience.

Working with the internet technician and phone representatives reminds me of the importance of asking not only questions but the right questions.  I admit, question-asking is often challenging for me with service professionals.  In most situations, I trust there is a "process" and information readily flows through the "system."  My brain does not work quickly to ask the right questions.  Only after situations do I spend time reviewing what was said and what I should have said. 

This internet installation communication presented a third lesson, people often misinform you not by choice but from what they can summarize from existing and available information.  I am optimistic enough to believe the representative at the internet company did not intentionally lie to me.  The representative shared the information that was available to them.    

And finally, the all too important lesson we often forget, the value of reaching out for support.  In a relatively short time, a co-worker connected me with the builder of my complex and the cable was installed within 45 minutes.  We often feel alone in our frustration and isolated prevents us from reachinging out.  Reaching out works!

Life lessons in the most unassuming situations.  I often look for ways to connect life lessons with the learning process.  

Learning takes patience… a lot of patience!  We need to practice patience and recognize when to employ patience in learning situations.  We need to model patience for children and motivate them to exercise patience.  I often forget that no matter my son’s age, he is watching and learning from me.  I also need to remember that both the teacher and learner need to exercise patience.  As a teacher, patience reminds the ecucator to try new approaches and differentiate instruction.  

In the classroom, patience promotes orchestrating brain breaks or other “take a break” initiatives.  Patience reminds the teacher of the learner’s developmental needs and maturity level.  And finally, patience helps to recognize “timing” in the classroom and within the lesson.  Teachers need to discover the “sweet spot” of instruction contributing to real learning.

Another real lesson, learning is often about asking the right questions and listening to the response.  Learning is a time-intensive process with very little opportunities for a “short cut.”  Good teachers spend more time listening to students than talking to students.  There are plenty of studies supporting the benefits of student-centered classrooms. Lessons nurturing “hands-on” and “minds-on” learning benefits the learner and promotes student achievement.  Question-asking, higher level question-asking, deepens the thought process and contributes to learning. 

Another lesson, summarizing all the available data and knowing where to look for existing data.  There were a few things I feel the internet phone representatives failed to do when addressing my concerns.  I wonder if the “data,” my previous phone calls and service reports, were hidden within the company's database.  The phone representatives were responding to my inquiry based on available information- their access to the data.  

As in learning, making assumptions and summaries of what may seem to be happening to the learner may not actually be the full picture of the situation.  Learning may not always reveal itself on tests or classwork.  And learning may not be easily assessed by the “evaluator.”  Learning occurs in many forms and through many outcomes.  To understand the result of a learning experience one may need to apply patience, listening skills, and most importantly access the “right” data.

Finally, reaching out benefits the learner and the learning process.  Teachers may no longer teach and assess in isolation!  Reaching out or reaching in requires us to examine our roles as teacher and learner.  It requires us to partner with colleagues and parents.  Reaching out requires teachers to engage in the educational community.  Determining where to reach out is not the first step.  Reaching out, in any direction, becomes the first step and often leads us in the right direction!   

My internet services were finally connected- 15 days after the initial request.  However, in the interim, I learned about myself and I was reminded of the characteristics of a learner.  Learning can happen in every situation… you just need to look for it!