Saturday, January 21, 2012

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

The end of another week and I'm starting to find a rhythm to the new term. It's strange not having any early lectures and that makes it hard to motivate getting up in the mornings. At least we are now getting serious reading to do and time in the library is beginning to become part of the routine.

The new extra-curricular activities certainly make the days fly. This was the first week of the 'Click and Connect' programme. It's a short computing course for complete beginners which uses student volunteers to assist the tutor. As I've done this sort of thing on-and-off for years I figured it was a good idea to put my name forward. It's lots of fun and very rewarding. Most of the people we are teaching are in my age bracket or older and I'm enjoying showing them the 'magic' (as one lady called it) of computers. When keyboard skills are as natural as riding a bike, finding ways to explain the basics to someone who has never even used a typewriter is actually very humbling. What we take for granted can be a huge hurdle - even holding a mouse correctly is a new skill for some. These wonderful people, who want to be able to contact loved ones abroad, book holidays, pay bills, get access to the 'WWW' and even download knitting patterns, have so much to share with us. Coffee breaks are an education in themselves! One absolutely amazing gentleman has offered to come and fix a few things round the house for me and I'm going to prepare him some letterheads and standard letters to assist him in his new digital correspondence. All of us 'assistant tutors' are loving the experience and look forward to meeting our pupils again next week.

Another new departure for me is getting trained in the Socs Box. This is the hub for all the college societies and another learning experience and social outlet.Some of the slides on the campus tv screens next week will be mine :-). The staff and other volunteers are a lovely bunch and it's nice to be in a busy office environment again as well as get to meet lots of students I'd only known to see.

Work wise, the new courses are absorbing and not as heavy on the reading as last term - yet. Friday afternoon Ethics seminars are probably going to be the most fun and Modern Philosophy the hardest but, as we all agree, NOTHING can be as bad as Phenomenology. English is only warming up but I'm looking forward to the Creative Writing seminar which begins on Wednesday. As ever, the new semester brings new insights. I used to believe that my brain couldn't learn well in the evenings but, as I'm filling up a lot of my days with other things, necessity means that I've had to study after dinner and, much to my surprise, it's only been my preconception that prevented me from opening the books rather than flop in front of the goggle-box. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Now it's my 'mothering' weekend and I have brought my youngest teenager to Galway as a treat. We're heading off to leave a book back to the library and mooch around some shops before our favourite joint past-time of watching football. Time to put on my Liverpool shirt and venture forth

Farewell for now :-)


  1. Glad you're enjoying your new term!

  2. Thanks Caz. Just read some of your blog and nice to know that someone else is doing similar things to me!