February 5, 2008

Tuesdays with Melissa

Last Tuesday evening, I began teaching my weekly adult technology class at the local high school. It's a course called "OS X Tips and Tricks." I am very pleased to report that I have 11, count em' – eleven students enrolled in my course. I am thrilled about it! Four of the students are 'repeat offenders' - ha ha ha - who took my course last Spring as well. The first night I opened with a meet and greet and Q and A session. Worked out well to just address questions and get to know the people since we couldn't log into the computers anyhow. Thankfully, they fixed it for tonight's class. It always makes me nervous dealing with the school's computer lab and no available tech support. I'm glad I finally have a laptop so I can at least have something to show for if I get hosed by the lab's ability to function.

It is extremely difficult to conduct a class for the public in a school environment. There are so many blocks and speed bumps with which to contend. I'm not really complaining, because I used to be a Site Tech and I know what it's like and how hard it is to make everyone happy. I prided myself on making my site a technology fortress, but that was cause for protecting the little students from the harms of technology.

Of course, I also ran a tight ship just as well as to keep the kids from intentionally and "accidentally" screwing things up beyond repair. I hope I remember to tell the story some day about the kid who will go down in Site Tech History as the "what I call my ass" kid. Makes me giggle just thinking about it. I have to find some way to post about it without disclosing anything too personal just in case his mother or someone in-the-know ever reads this blog. Ah, memories. I still have his apology letter, among others. I saved apology letters I've received from kids just in case they become famous one day so I can ebay them for millions. Hey! It could happen!

It's just a totally different ball game when it comes to working with adults and in the public sector. There is no amount of 'splaining I could do to make anyone comprehend the challenges of this task, but I simply just have to work with what I have and do what I feel I do best, which is to be creative.

I sort of warned them of these conflicts when it comes to using a school lab and they seemed to understand so that makes me relax a little more. We discussed some of the burning questions they had about learning to use and understand the Mac better and they all turned in a written set of topics that they would like to explore. I am super excited that 2 of them are PC switchers. This will be fun.

I told myself that I wasn't going to put a lot of effort into creating detailed lesson plans, but I lied. I was up till 5:30 the other morning working on them – again. I just can't help myself. I just enjoy it too much. It makes me feel so alive sharing knowledge with others. I love showing people how to do something and watch the light bulb go off. It just brings me joy. I guess it also helps me understand why my husband does what he does day in and day out. I still can't relate to dealing with teenagers, but give me little kids and older people and I love to work with them.

I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head when it comes to the lesson plans I'm developing for this class. One of my biggest fears is that there will be something I will forget to show them and I'll regret it. But, I have faith in myself that I'll cover the things I want to cover. That's why I'm working so hard on putting together an outline to keep me focused and serve as a check list. I'm having a good time developing it even if it means losing a little sleep (which I'm not getting anyhow) or leaving the laundry go another day.

Tonight's class started out disorganized despite my efforts to be most organized. I even made myself a check list before I left the house. I did get to check off most the the things, so that was cool. The biggest problem tonight was dealing with the lab equipment. It took for-eh-ver to get the damn printer to play nicely. It kept jamming on me and running out of paper. I was trying to print out and hand out to them my outline I worked so hard on so they would have something to reference. I knew they were going to ask a question about something I had already spelled out on the outline and with only an hour and a half, it's just not enough time to cram everything in so that's why I supplement with other information they can review.

Hopefully, now that they each have a copy of the course outline in progress, it will help so they have a better idea of what to expect. Once the document is a little more refined, maybe I'll post it for download on my website for others to review. BTW, the pic in the beginning is a link, or should be, to what looks like a decent Mac basics blog. I haven't had time to check the whole thing out yet, but from what I've seen so far, looks pretty cool.

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