Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday I've got Friday on my mind 

Day nine of our Sauerkraut training

A bit of changing gears today. Today was the first time I got to participate in the Teaching section of our training. It was quite different with a new set of teachers and a different focus. The first troubling thing that I noticed was that I was having trouble concentrating. I didn't know if that was due to getting to bed late last night or the fact that the material really didn't apply to my new vocation. Anyway, the different groups presented their homework--some quite flamboyantly. My own presentation was pre-empted by a storm warning that sent us all scurrying to the basement. It was a beauty of a mid-west thunderbuster, the sky darkening 'til it seemed like twilight. Some folks outside our building had been having some sort of outdoor gathering and as we headed downstairs, we saw about a half a dozen people struggling to drag their little canopies inside against the wind. Afterwards, I noticed that a few of the struts had been snapped in half, though whether that was done by the wind or by the folks trying to fit the flurshugginer canopies through the door, I don't know. Anyway, once again there was no tornado (Danke Gott) and I ended up giving the short version of my presentation.

The afternoon was more lectures and some teaching exercises. (Well, actually they were more like games.)(Edutainment. Yeah, that's it.) I ended up on a slightly sour note as we were supposed to plan out a short (5 min.) lesson where you taught something you knew how to do to the others in your group. At first blush, that seemed to be a great assignment. I figured I'd try to teach something in the area of desktop publishing--something I know well and that may be useful to these future teachers. The main problem, however, was finding an aspect of DTP that was small enough to fit into the five minutes. Not only that, I had to find some task that could be translated to pencil and paper (since we weren't given computers with copies of Quark Xpress) and in which the "students" could demonstrate that they've learned something. I started fleshing out the concept of doing a basic newsletter layout, but by the end of class had abandoned the idea. Any design would be guided by the content and media of the newsletter and I thought that answering such questions would add too much complexity to the subject. After supper I went back to my room and toyed with the idea of teaching the construction of a simple html page. That fizzled as my memory of html code was limited and I had no access to any references, either books or websites. Noodles offered some alternate topics, none of which clicked with me. And then she suggested the idea of either blowing off the assignment (respectfully, of course) or just abandoning the program entirely.

I mused on that one for a while. Looking back on the day, I could see how I had really been in over my head. And I had no real incentive to try and rise to the challenge. Looking down the road, it also seemed like it might be better to spend the rest of the week reading all of the material that they had piled upon us last week, as once I return home, I will be swamped with work and painting once again. So tomorrow I'm going to drop out--from the assignment, at least. They may end up talking me into warming my chair for the day. But that's tomorrow's worry.