Wednesday, July 26

Graduation Thoughts

Greetings. On this eve of graduation for ten or so of the students from the training center I work at, I have some deep thoughts on graduation and what it means.

First off, of the graduations I've attended so far at the training center, I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's easy to conclude and accept that the act of graduating from the center is not a big deal, especially if you get in a pattern of teaching the same students for several weeks or months. However, in my humble opinion, once an instructor passes the line of indifference, they lose sight of what graduating from a rehabilitation center really means. For the student, it means saying to the world, "Hey, I did it! I achieved my goals and now I can go back to my normal life and live as a blind person." For the teacher, it gives you a since of pride, to see someone who came into your classroom not knowing how to turn a computer on, and to leave being able to surf the web, write a report with tables in Word, and the other skills that we teach. Sure, some students might not achieve as much as others. When I sit and watch students gratuate though, it reminds me of my duties as a teacher, and of how it felt to graduate from a center; to complete that portion of my life. I've been on both sides of this particular fence and can better appreciate them.

I have a special feeling towards this group graduating, since in this case, graduation not only signals their completion, but it also means I'm moving from observing and co-teaching instructor, to a full instructor. Though I haven't been told this yet, I fully expect to get a "real" class next week when the new cycle of 6 week long tech classes start.

Back in February and March, when I was in immersion, I was a "student" along side several of the students graduating tomorrow. I went to the train station with some of them, to the Irish pub, went through the keyboarding lessons and materials, and other things. After my immersion, I sat in classes with them, observing the way the instructor handled different situations, and practicing my own teaching skills and "instructing" on them. They were partly responsible for helping me get broken into teaching at the Center. Even though my methods won't be perfected an honed into some sort of shape for another cycle or two of classes, it was some of these same students that were tought by me to use tables on the web, use mail merge in Word, and other things. Due to these various experiences, I've felt like I've bonded on a certain level with these students. Perhaps in a different way from a normal student to teacher relationship.

So, congratulations and cheers to those graduating tomorrow, for completing your time in training, and to me for completing my training and moving into a full instructor role!

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