My last school district did a cool thing where it had current faculty and staff sign up to teach professional development classes to our colleagues on topics we chose. This past spring, I signed up to teach two classes: one on using Google Drive to create interactive lesson plans, and one over creating a research unit. Since they were such good classes, a few other wonderful English department colleagues offered to teach them for me after I moved, as long as I provided some of the learning material.
Before I left the district, I shared all the files I had in my school Google Drive account with my personal account; after all, they were going to deactivate my school account (obviously) and I wanted to be able to access them. I had every worksheet, reading, chapter, test, and lesson plan in the cloud, as this was what was encouraged and easy to do. I even clicked “Add to drive” to move them from the “Shared with me” folder to my own drive.
I went online this week to pull the professional development lesson plans for my coworkers and…you guessed it, gone. Seems the IT department didn’t just deactivate my Google account; they deleted it and it is as if I never existed. Every file I created, stuff I shared with myself and my colleagues, is gone. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but even after sleeping on it I feel like a part of my house burned down. The IT department tried to recover something but told me it had been too long since I left…I get my last paycheck next week; I didn’t feel like I had left yet! I only did things in Google Drive; I didn’t save anything to hard drives or download, since those are far more reliable than the wonder of Google…
There are some bright spots; the teacher who took my AP English classes had downloaded some of the material, most importantly my lesson plan layout for the year, so she is sending me that as she has time. I’ll be teaching some new books, so old material won’t be stuff I used in the past. Mostly I’ll have to recreate my writing prompts, syllabus, tests, and re-purchase some of the resource books I used at my last school but left there (since I didn’t buy them with my own money but had scanned pdf version in my Drive). I feel sorry for myself, but also feel bad for the teachers I had shared things with who can’t access them anymore! I emailed enough people at my district in the last few days that this policy will be brought up at the next meeting, at least – hopefully no one else will have to suffer as I have suffered!
It will be okay, but this is definitely a huge unexpected hurdle less than a week before the new school year starts. After a few days I feel less overwhelmed by it, but feeling like three years of intellectual property just vanished is one of the more disconcerting experiences I’ve had in teaching.