Thursday, April 2, 2015

On training and teaching (4/2/2015)

Today not a pretty picture or something like that.   However, just a picture of a class review I had today.  Worse, I got a standing ovation after finishing the class I taught today.   While it felt great, this is not why I teach and it made me feel very flustered.  Yes it feels good to be appreciated,  but I teach to make sure people learn something and use it to better the world we live in.  Very much like what I mentioned two blog posts ago: I want to convince people that environmental responsibility and coservation is worthwhile and important.

So these past two days I presented a class on the the use of plants in stormwater and erosion and sediment control.   It is the course that I have been developing during the past few months; it is my baby, something I am very passionate about.

When I go about developing and giving classes like this I start with my audience in mind.   I think about what I would like to learn  if I were them.  I have been in many seminars and classes where I wondered why the hell I was sitting there and I made a promise to myself that I would not want to do that.  If I notice that I put people to sleep during my talks, I will retire.  I decided to keep it interesting and fun.  Put in a joke so now and then; yes, in one of my reviews someone called me flippant.   But I believe in being active and giving it my full 150%.  Getting back to my motel room I literally pass out and have to take a nap to recover enough to go to dinner.

Yes, I really love people and love to give them the tools to do what is best for this world.   I believe that people need to coexist with each other and with the natural world; only we can make this a better place to live.  We humans are that technological advanced that we can alter our environment instead of adapt to the environment.   And that is what I like t OK convey.  No I am not dangerous,  but I want to give everyone the tools.

So how do I do this?  I am very unconventional to my boss' frustration .   I create a general outline of where I want to go with my classes.   I know the audience and next I just start throwing things to PowerPoint.   I first brood a lot.  I design the class in my head and then at one point it gets together and I bleed on PowerPoint.   I try to start with the background,  or some introductory theory.  In my plant class I started with parts of the plants.  I went on to how we humans want to classify things or pigeon hole everything.   After that I developed something an the importance of native plants.  The laws and regulations were next, after which I talked about more practical things.  I never develop speaker's notes.  I don't know, but that's what  my brooding is all about and the subsequent slides.  I just start talking having some idea where I want to go and yes I make it up as I go but I never lie and the stuff I make up is always true and based on facts stored in that big head of mine. And yes, somehow it works.   As I write this I am tired, but satisfied.

Oh well this is probably a very egocentric post, but hopefully I am teaching someone something about teaching and motivation.

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