Thursday, September 16, 2010

The End of a Beautiful Career

I don't know if you can call teaching one 1-1/2 hour class every six months as a volunteer a career, but I think it ended last night anyway.

I taught my third blogging class and by the time it had finished, I decided I didn't want to do it again. For all sorts of reasons.

The class is held in a room in one of the city training offices that has about 10 computers. One computer is connected to a projector so the students can see on a screen what I'm typing on the computer.

All of the computers turned on except for the one that I needed to use. My partner fiddled around with it but she couldn't get it to work, so we called the expert, who only lives 5 minutes away, so came down to see if he could get it going.

In the meantime students were arriving. Four had pre-registered for the free class, Seven showed up (fortunately I had prepared hand-outs for 10). The youngest student was 14, the oldest was my age or older.

The first thing I always do when teaching this class is to go around the circle to find out why they think they are there. The first time I taught the class I had 3 people show up and all three really didn't have the first notion what a blog was and what they really needed were web sites for their businesses.

By now I guess more people are becoming aware of what blogging is and most of the people were there to do an actual blog, though one woman wasn't sure what was the difference between blogging, Twitter and Facebook.

The way I've done it the last two times was to have everyone log into Blogger, since that's the blogging platform that I use and with which I am most familiar. Then I take them through the creation of a blog and once they have their blogs created, we look at the various things you can do to tweak them.

I logged into Blogger, as I always do, and discovered that the city had now put some sort of firewall on its computers which prevented people from viewing personal blogs. Swell.

We called the guru again to see how to bypass the firewall, but he admitted he didn't have a clue what to do about that and wished me luck. The warning screen I was getting said that you could override the system for a 60 minute period of time, but that it would have to be done in 10 minute segments, which really didn't work for what I was trying to do, but I tried to go ahead with it anyway.

I set up a test blog like I always do, but I couldn't really have the students set up their own blogs and go around and help them, because every 10 minutes, it timed out. We did get blogs started, but it was very choppy and I was thrown off my game.

I finally just had people ask me questions. The person with the most questions was the 14 year old, who sat at the far end of the room and spoke barely above a whisper, so every time she asked something I had to walk back to help her. She had also brought her own computer, which had print that was very tiny and a screen that was very dim.

People in the class asked more questions that I couldn't answer and I had to say "I don't know" more times than I have in the past, which was embarrassing for me.

In the end, I think people learned some things but I didn't enjoy it at all, and left feeling that I really didn't want to do it again. I'll have to think seriously about this in the future.

I had to take Walt to the Sacramento airport at 5 a.m. this morning. It was after midnight before I got to sleep and my internal clock (aided by dogs) woke me up at 4 a.m., so I just stayed up, fearing I would otherwise oversleep. I felt like a zombie when I got home from the airport and ended up taking a nap until a very strong muscle cramp hit the top of each foot and sent me into an upright position trying to walk the cramps out.

I was still groggy when I drove downtown to have lunch with my friend Ruth and when I got home the only thing I wanted to do was sleep again, so I napped off and on almost all afternoon, waking intermittently to more foot cramps.

I'm still feeling groggy, my stomach somewhat unsettled by the Chinese lunch I wasn't really ready for, and, amazingly, another nap sounds pretty good right now, but if I take a late afternoon nap, I won't be able to sleep tonight!


Governor Jen said...

I'm a trainer for my job, so I understand the pain of this course VERY well. The other day, I tried to get into a system and was told by my firewall it was pornography and I'd be reported to HR. Good thing I'm HR.

Indigo said...

Wow, those were a lot of hurdles to get over on the spot during a How To Blog class. I'm sure you handled it just fine though, and I would imagine you are the right person for the job. I wouldn't blame you if that was your last class though in the least.

Terri said...

To err is human. To really foul things up, you need a computer--and a city fire wall.

Kwizgiver said...

I was told today that I email technical support at school more than anyone else. I asked for a prize but I don't think they got it.

Understandable why you're thinking the end is here.


MammaKerr said...

I've been giving some serious thought to starting an Introduction to Blogging course in my area. I'm sorry to hear that yours hasn't gone too well. That's a pity!