July 23rd, 2012

Hard Hat

Teaching

So the teaching gig is going all right. But not great.

Issues:

The no curriculum thing is really a drag. I don’t think I’d want to be stuck with slavishly following an existing curriculum. But starting off with no curriculum has been difficult. I spend a couple of hours each day planning what to cover in the four hours in the afternoon.

Classroom management. Specifically, I really don’t know how to handle the differing speeds at which each of the students are picking this up. One student struggles with the basics of HTML syntax, while another wants me to teach him Javascript.

Teenage attention span. I swear they all have A.D.D. They all want to try out the fancy HTML/CSS toys and go way off track. Which is fine to a degree, as I don’t want them to learn the one true way of Web development. But they get themselves into dead ends from which they don’t know how to extricate themselves. Getting them individually unstuck takes up a lot of time.

And lastly, while none of these issues are really all that major, I don’t have a teaching support network. I have general support and encouragement from friends, but that’s not what I’m looking for. Specifically, what I wish I had is people who can answer questions like I’m trying to do X, how do I do it? and this happened, what do I do? People I don’t have to seek out, but who are already there. I don’t have a breakroom with other teachers, for instance. That would be awesome.

Still glad I took the job, but wishing I knew how to do it better.

crossposted from King Rat.

Logo

Phone banking for Referendum 74

For the last two weeks I’ve spent 3 hours on Thursdays phone banking in support of Referendum 74. Washington United for Marriage has been running a pretty organized campaign to make sure marriage equality passes. They are doing phone banks at least 4 days a week. They’ve run some demographics to identify likely undecided voters. And then we call them. Find out what their concerns are about letting gay and lesbian people get married. Try to allay those concerns. Talk to them about how much marriage might mean to gay and lesbian families. It’s all persuasion rather than arguing.

My phone bank equipment has dialed almost 400 people in those 6 hours, and I’ve had about 35 actual conversations with people. We get a lot of people who don’t want to talk, and a lot of answering machines and wrong numbers and calls that just don’t connect. And out of those 35 conversations I maybe have nudged 2 people a bit more toward supporting Referendum 74. Just having the conversation that isn’t an argument gets most of them thinking about it in a way they haven’t previously. In the end, if we get only 1,000 people to support it who otherwise would have voted against it, that might be all the difference we need.

I kinda sorta think Referendum 74 will pass pretty easily, but that may just be optimism. I strongly support it, and live in an area where most everyone else also strongly supports it. I’m in a bubble that likely is inducing wishful thinking. But I kinda know that, so I’m working to get this thing passed anyway, just in case I am wrong.

Which reminds me, do you want to help out? Even if you only do one phone bank, that’s 20 people who have a conversation about marriage that won’t otherwise have that conversation. I’ll make you a pie or buy you a beer if you help out.

crossposted from King Rat.