Thursday, November 13, 2008

Life at Commonbond

So, I promised an update about work, so here it is. For those of you who don't remember/are too lazy to look back through my blog posts, I am working as the computer lab manager at Skyline Tower in St. Paul. This basically means that I run adult, teen and youth computer labs, offer education classes on the computer, and teach basic computer skills classes.

Lately I have been working on a couple of projects at once. About two weeks ago I heard from corporate that the Geek Squad at a local Best Buy wanted to volunteer somewhere and that I should try to get them to volunteer here. We've been exchanging e-mails since then, and I think they may come on board. This would be awesome, as I could really use their help putting together an advanced skills class, teach more classes and hopefully eventually get a projector for the lab.

The classes I have been teaching have had... spotty attendance at best. It seems that my two classes are in cahoots with one another because a) the word cahoots is awesome, and b)they alternate the days on which they show up. So Basic 2 will show up one day and Basic 1 will show up the next. When they do show up, they're pretty awesome, as they really want to learn stuff. The Basic 1 folks have so far learned what hardware and software are, can identify everything on the desktop, and learned to manipulate/create windows and folders. Next class will be a review class before I skip class again to go home and shoot things (pew! pew!), which kind of sucks because I want more time with them. Grr. The Basic 2 people are learning the joys of Microsoft Word; that should keep them busy for another 4-5 weeks or so, then it's Excel's turn to have fun.

There are also a couple of special projects that I'm working on. The one that is using up the most time is reworking our GED program. For a while I was stymied as to what exactly should I do, but I got a meeting together with the Hubbs Center, which is an adult learning center. A woman named Pam helped me out and realize many of the fundamental problems with our program and gave me some ideas as to how to fix them. Now I'm looking up a lot of reading comprehension stuff, as our main problem is getting the residents up to a ninth grade reading level, as well as trying to get money to buy GED and pre-GED books for the lab.

My other main special project is trying to get free computers for some of my residents and one guy in particular. He's a real character and has taken it upon himself to verbally trip me up at every opportunity. For instance, at our first meeting I was placing some papers up on the central message board in the lobby. As I was moving to the next board he called out to me and said "Hey, you dropped something!" I whirled around, but didn't see anything. I looked back to him quizzically and he simply grinned and said "Your smile- welcome to the family." Apparently he's been having lots of trouble sleeping because of his experiences in Vietnam and wants to take the GED at some point, but wants to be able to study at night in his room to fight insomnia. I've managed to locate a place that could help him, but I am currently still in negotiations with them. Hopefully that'll be resolved soon.

I also help people out with resumes and online job applications. Some of these are nice, as I know I'm really helping someone get a job. Sometimes, though, I just know from the outset that the person has no chance in hell of getting that job, and most of that is due to simple English deficiencies. I try to recommend programs, but mostly I fall on deaf ears.

But not everything is bad... though the kids and teens can be annoying as all get out sometimes. I like my coworkers, the people here generally like me, and I'm doing good for people for at least a year. Not a bad way to spend my time, I figure.

Well, I'll stop rambling for now. I've got much more important things to do, like watching the lab... and naming my Eldar army... and getting gaming feedback to Russell... and coming up with a question to ask William that isn't "Who killed the prince?"... yeah, real important stuff.

Until next time...

"In all the ages, three-fourths of the support of the great charities has been conscience money."
- "A Humane Word from Satan" by Mark Twain

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