|TGIF -- 11/02/01|
A long week, but at last it is Friday afternoon...
I've been teaching a class this week... which is an activity I generally enjoy, especially this particular course because I think (speaking without false modesty) that I really am an expert on this material (I really know the technology, I wrote the course, rewrote the course, have trained several other people to be instructors on this material, and I like to think that my expertise with this particular pile of stuff is recognized in my little corner), which does make it more enjoyable to teach... however, it is still an exhausting process... being on your feet all day, pacing around the room (I move around a lot when I teach, pointing at projected graphics, drawing diagrams on white boards, helping students at their computers, etc.) and, also, there is the energy expended in always being "on" -- attempting to deliver a presentation, remembering to speak especially clearly (and not too quickly) because of having three students from India, monitoring class reaction (do they seem to get it or are they confused?), watching the clock, pacing things (is it time for a break? If we start the lab exercise in twenty minutes or so will there be enough time to finish it before lunch?... etc.)
So I'm usually pretty tired when Friday afternoon comes along.
This particular course is a five day course -- and it really needs five full days -- but people usually want to know how early we can finish on Friday because of a need to catch flights back home. I always explain that if they don't mind running a bit longer most days and not breaking for lunch on Friday, I can have them out between one and two p.m. on Friday. Not everyone has a tight flight schedule, but in almost six years of teaching this course, I've never had a class turn down that proposition.
I always tell myself that as soon as the students leave I will straighten up the classroom and process my paperwork (administrivia is always with us) and leave for home early (having already put in more than enough hours for the week) but somehow I always end up staying until past five o'clock (and very hungry from having skipped lunch)... Today I told myself I was really going to leave early... I had a two o'clock conference call but as soon as that was over I would leave... and then I remembered that there was to be an afterwork gathering at KJ's Pub to honor a colleague who was leaving the company. Well, to be exact, he was being laid off -- his job was being eliminated (he was a recruiter and, with no expansion plans for this area, there was no longer any need for his job and he did not want to relocate to a different site). I couldn't leave early and miss sharing a farewell beer or two... Frank had been the person who had recruited me... he'd posted a job opening on Monster.com and I submitted my resume...Now he was leaving and I stopped by and drank a Guiness and said good luck.
Next week I have to face the task of preparing to present one week later some material where I do not have great expertise. Remember a couple of weeks ago I was in Pittsbugh? Another instructor and I attended a three day course (it was designed as a four day course but was cut down to three for this particular presentation) and then a day and a half of talks by one of the top experts on this particular set of software. Our assignment -- merge the existing course material with what we could glean from the guru and present this as a four day course the week of November 12th. Naturally I was very busy the week after Pittsburgh and I was teaching this week so now I have next week to figure out how to present my half of the course -- which is intended to give our pre-sales technical people sufficient expertise to be able to install and configure all of the requisite software (a very daunting task) and to be able to discuss it intelligently and to be able to do technical demonstrations. We have until Wednesday to put together the material to be printed for the student course manual and the lab exercise guide... Oh, never mind, one week is over and the weekend has arrived and I refuse to worry about next week's problems until Monday...