Well today was one of those day you hope never happens while teaching. It was really our first day to work on statistical procedures. I said, “Please go to the menu bar choose ‘Tools’ and under ‘Tools’ ‘Descriptive Statistics.’ I got 9 blank stares after the translator, Mihai, relayed my instructions. Only 2 out of the 9 had an ‘Office’ version that included the statistical package I needed. Most of you know that I don’t panic easily but I was sure close. Everything that I had planned for the rest of the week required that software. What was I going to do?
Fortunately, Mihai is not only a fantastic translator of English to Romanian but he is an absolutely amazing computer tech. He had already fixed a problem on my computer that Baylor ITS had given up on. He whipped out some disk and installed the needed software on everyone’s computer that needed it. Now we were off and running. Not really! My testing still was not over. After a few more instructions, we discovered that about half of the class had “Office 2007” while the rest of the class and I had 2003. A lot of changes were in the Excel program in 2007 and I had learned to do the procedures in the 2003 version. Again it was Mihai to the rescue. We did get through day but it was not easy.
We discovered Monday that many of the students notonly didn’t know Excel basics as they had told us they did; they also lacked just basic computer skills. BUT they all bring laptops to class. I actually had Mihai teach basic Excel Tuesday morning and he did a great job but that took much longer than we planned because he had to stop to teach many of the students basic skillss.
I guess all is well that ends well. By the end of the day as I watched them apply the procedures to actual data all of a sudden I would see a big smile break through a strained face and I knew the procedure had worked for them and they had the results they needed. Each time that happened the student and I breathed a big sigh. So maybe teaching is not so bad after all!