An Instructor's Perspective on a CEU Course
While I was teaching last week, it dawned on me that I have a unique perspective on continuing education courses. I've been on both sides of the projector. When I teach, I'm not listening. I'm trying to remember to say everything I want to on a topic. I have set examples I use every time but no two courses are the same. If I get distracted, I sometimes forget what I meant to say next.
I can see everyone in the room when I'm up there. I see who is listening, and who is doing a crossword, reading the newspaper or sleeping. I don't mind the sleeping. I get paid whether or not you learn. I prefer you learn but that's your choice. I also prefer the sleepers to stay in the back. It throws me off when you're in the front row.
Once I had a woman spend the first hour solving a crossword. Later she wanted to debate me on something I had said. I didn't give her much opportunity. If you want to correct me or object, at least be paying attention and I'll be much more willing to hear the differing opinion.
Even though I spend the day looking at the class, I remember nothing about the people in it when I finish. With rare exceptions, I couldn't tell you if you were paying attention or not. I try to look toward everyone but I never focus on any one person, so I don't store anything in memory.
Room size makes a difference. The larger the rooms, no matter how many are in attendance, the less I perceive about the class. Larger and very small classes are harder to connect with. I try to look around the room while I'm talking. It helps me gauge how I'm doing, if people are listening, etc. I know no one cares about everything I say.
I have evidence to support what I'm saying. You may not agree, but I can support my opinion. This means I have to introduce the evidence into the course. I know going over specific articles is boring. But sometimes I have to do it to bring in the evidence.
I try to learn from other courses I've attended. The worst one so far was the stroke course prior to CSM last year. They read from the slides. They offered no examples. It was biased toward individual interests rather than providing all viewpoints. I spent most of the time sitting on my hands to keep from causing trouble. Worse, one of the main speakers talked more about herself than the material. If I ever fall into any of those ruts, I hope someone slaps some sense into me immediately.