Saturday, 24 January 2009

Computing at SISP

It's been quite a good week at SISP, though I couldn't wait for Friday 6pm to come. Days are just a bit too long for this old codger. It's constant too - I can't just slope off somewhere for a break or a cuppa. There are no free periods and I'm expected to turn up promptly for the classes of course. But I do get Thursday afternoons off (from 14:00) so mustn't grumble too much. When I first started I agreed to having Tuesday afternoons off too, returning for the tuition classes at 16:00, but by the time I got home it was time to come back, so I quickly dropped the tuition. Now, with one staff member down, I feel I must help on Tuesdays.

Four mornings a week (from 9 to 10) and on two or three lunchtimes (from 1:30 to 2) I run "computer classes" for the staff. These are basically just computer familiarisation exercises for the workshop staff and some teachers, but the social workers need something a bit more advanced. They range in ability from those who can't operate a mouse to those who know how to produce a report with a word processor but not a lot more. The workshop ladies can't see the point of it all so need a lot of encouraging and praise. Actually they are quite nervous of using computers but, little by little, I'm winning them around and they are becoming less daunted. They feel as if they are achieving something, which is great! And they prefer my style to the previous teachers, which is better still!

The very able ones are using spreadsheets. I'm struggling to keep one step ahead of them when it comes to producing charts and graphs. Active tables in Word documents are going to be interesting particularly as I don't use Microsoft Office at home, and I think the programs used at SISP are knock-off. With the "Help" disabled it kinda complicates things!

I'm glad they don't have the Internet at SISP because the older kids would be downloading all kinds of stuff. It's bad enough at the moment just keeping the computers' disks tidy. And given a nice clean desktop you can bet that by the end of the session the older students will have put up some passionate message of undying love, embellished with flowery fonts and flying hearts, and shortcut icons will have appeared from nowhere! And menus too - how do they do that?!

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