Recently I agreed to teach two writing classes: the first for middle and high school students this winter, the second next spring for the 55-and-older crowd. At heart I'm still that kid who started her term paper the day it was assigned rather than pulling an all-nighter and printing it ten minutes before class. So I'm already writing and rewriting the curriculums and deciding the format to use for my lessons.
In the past I've put everything on transparencies, a holdover from my years of teaching middle school. But the PowerPoint icon has been winking at me from the dock of my Mac for months. Last week I clicked on that little orange sucker and took a stab at the tutorial. There's a learning curve--for me, at least--but forty minutes here, an hour there, two hours wherever I can eke them out, and I'll be able to dazzle my students with technology that everyone else has been using for a decade.
Speaking of technology, scrounging an overhead projector and screen for school visits is often an adventure. Unearthing an LCD projector could rival the Quest for the Golden Fleece. Maybe I should have my own. But a few hours of searching the Web left me shell-shocked. As if the prices weren't enough to put me off, there are hundreds of brands and models, not to mention terms like "throw ratio" and "native XGA resolution." And lumens--don't get me started!
And it wouldn't be right to leave out my time-sucking buddy, Facebook. In October I blogged about the fun of reconnecting with my friends and former students. And great fun it is. So is updating my status, checking my news feed, writing on walls, and adding birthdays to my social calendar. It's easy to let an hour or two be gobbled up by the pure enjoyment of it all.
This morning I switched it off--the curriculum planning, PowerPoint learning, LCD projector searching, Facebook socializing--and pulled up my YA work-in-progress. At first my characters didn't recognize me, and I had to reintroduce myself. By after we'd dispensed with the niceties, we got down to the business of putting a story together.
Until two minutes later when the dogs let me know they couldn't wait another second to go outside.