Category Archives: Jobs

Reminiscing About Teaching…

Computer/ESL Class Fall 2009

Computer/ESL Class Fall 2009

Some of you may know that I have been on a job hunt for a while. I moved from Chicago, IL to the Seattle, WA area a little over a year ago and since then I have been looking for a job and sending my resume out to almost any job posting I see with no luck at all. I have replied to at least 20 or more different job postings over the past year but no one has ever contacted me back.

I did get hired for one seasonal job at Macy’s this past September, but that ended in January.

During the Summer/Fall I took a few classes for the Desktop Support Specialist certificate program at Edmonds Community College and got my certificate in December. (All A’s! Yay!) BUT that still does not seem to have helped me at all. I am trying to earn at least an Associates degree in the Computer Information Systems field, not to fix computers or to become a Systems/Network Admin, but so I can be “qualified” to teach basic computer usage classes in the eyes of those who would hire me.

I cannot say that I am a computer expert. I will say, however, that I have had many successes in teaching computer usage to beginners in both English and Spanish. Teaching is one of the most rewarding experiences and especially teaching adults! They are so grateful and humble. Sure, I had some students who were not so grateful or even cocky and had know-it-all attitudes, but over time and with patience these students also became grateful, they learned new things and respected me.

Remembering back to my early days of teaching at the Association House of Chicago I can see some of my students faces looking back at me like children. One student, I do not remember his name, on the first day of class said that he had never even touched a computer before. He had a relative who had one but he was not allowed near it for fear that he may “break” it. That’s a common feeling among new students. They’re afraid they will break the computers somehow. I showed this student how to start up Internet Explorer and how to do a basic search for information. I could see a sparkle in his eyes as he was amazed at what he could find and how easy it was.

A student and me

A student and me

And that is what I love about teaching. The little moments when your students “get it”. That understanding twinkle in their eyes and the broad smile on their faces.

Not being able to find the job that I want both makes me want to settle for any job so that I have some income to help with finances (the easy way out) and it also makes me want to create my own opportunities (the not so easy way out). And so I continue to search for jobs and at the same time also plan for a self-employment type deal. It’s a bit scary but also very exciting because I would get to do what I love.




The way all work environments should be!

This is too awesome not to share. The people I work with, even if I don’t see them every single day, are too cool!

I teach Spanish-speaking adults basic computer skills including how to use some programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), how to navigate the Internet, perform searches through Google, and how to send/ read email. Super basic things and classes are basically FREE! The suggested donation is $20 but it’s not mandatory. This was put in place in hopes that it would reduce drop-out rates.

Sounds like a good deal, huh? I think so.

Registration rolls around, many people show and sign-up. But what happens on the first day of class? Only about HALF the students that signed up show up, or even less. Stats: 25 people registered for my level one class but only about 11 showed on the first day/ week of class. For my level two class, 8 people registered but only 3 showed up.

So we scrambled to get the word out and get more people in the class. At least 20, depending on the space and available computers.

Here comes the awesome part. I got a mini-stampede of students during the second week of class. I thought it was just my supervisor getting the word out, but as it turns out it could have been a fellow computer teacher, Luz. :D

Here’s the email I received earlier today from her:

Sorry, had to delete this part as requested. But it was a very nice gesture still. :)

I though that was sooooo nice of her to do! Love my job! :D

Has that happened to any of you out there?



End of Winter Session

The computer beginners classes I teach will soon come to an end for the winter session. This is the second set of classes that I teach at my new job.

This session is not much different from my last in that I end up truly enjoying teaching computers to adults both in English and Spanish. I am happy to play such a major role in the lives of these people. Students constantly tell me how much they enjoy my class and the way I teach (especially the patience part ;) ). The students are what make my job worthwile and so very rewarding!

Students in my level one class gave me this (click the image to view a larger image in a new window):

V-Day card from my students (Feb 2009)

V-Day card from my students (Feb 2009)

Inside view of the card. :)

Inside view of the card. :)

It is a very cute card. I thought this was a very nice thing to do and I was not even expecting it! What kind of teacher am I? ;)

These last two weeks of class we have, we will be reviewing as much of the previous material as we can to prepare for their post test. I can tell they are feeling a little nervous about it but they really should not. It is the exact same test that was given at the beginning and if they were in class, prepared, on time, and taking notes then they should definitely do great on the test. The test is also does not determine whether they pass or fail. The most important thing, as I have been told, is that they complete the course!

We are also working on promoting the classes. There are ESL classes taught here. We teach out of one of the organization’s charter schools. There are several campuses, mainly in the Southside of the city, and we are the only Northsiders. So through our students and contacts we try to make ourselves visible to the rest of the community.

What ideas would you suggest as far as promoting and making ourselves more visible? What fun class activities have you done with your students or in classes you have taken?

Thanks for reading!



Job Update

Some of my students while practicing their typing.

Some of my students while practicing their typing.

The new job is goind well and I am happy to be working there. My students are all very eager to learn to use computers but also still a bit scared. I think they are scared to fail. What can I do to ease that thought?

Most of the students have been doing very well. We have about two to three weeks left of class so we are going to review previous topics and I will also give them a quiz. I hope that the quiz will encourage them when they realize that they have learned at least something. Learning to use a computer, especially at an older age, is not an overnight thing.

Wish my students and me luck!


I finally got a job!


Woohoo! After all this time searching for the “right” job for me I finally found it.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was teaching basic computer skills to adults. I have about three years of experience teaching people of all ages, from little ones (ages six through twelve) to teenagers (ages 13 through 16) to adults ages (18 through 60 and beyond).

Pretty much everything I know about how to use a computer and the Internet, I learned on my own, like many IT people I know of. I also took an A+ class at a local college where I further learned how to effectively troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair computers. It was a really good class! My instructor was very good at explaning things.

Looking back from my very first encounters with computers, I remember that using a computer excited me when I was in 5th grade. Middle school is when I was taught how type ‘correctly’. My Language Arts teacher would place a half-sheet of construction paper over the keyboard so that the students would not look down at the keyboard. I think this was a great tactic on their part and made the class a little fun, at least for me. ;)

In high school, before my senior year, I took a summer web design class which was also a ‘job’. We were to learn how to create a simple web page and at the end help create an Arts Program web page. I learned basic HTML and how to use Photoshop. I took the same class again the following summer but this time it was an ‘advanced’ class and we learned about CSS and video. Today, I continue learning as much as I can about web design here and there and Photoshop has taken over most of my images. :P

I love designing many things. Flyers, greeting cards, posters, banners/ web banners, post cards, business cards, avatars, etc. If I can change something it is almost impossible for me not to. I even have a drawing tablet! Fun, fun times.

My interest and knowlege in computers varies and grows day by day. All I can hope for is that it becomes useful to those I teach and they in turn pass that knowledge on.