Friday, March 31, 2006

Good news!

And I didn't save a lot of my car insurance because I didn't switch to Geico.

However, through my self-sacrificing nature, I earned a couple hundred bucks with my impromptu Excel skillz.

Wednesday, KCMLIN was hosting a session at CRL for Introduction to Excel, and as one of my glamorous duties, I was in early booting computers, cleaning mouse pads, recalibrating the smart board, and doing some fancy doodling to let the participants know they were in the right room.

Session was supposed to start at 9:30am. By 9:20, no one had showed up yet. Usually someone comes barging in the door at 9am...so trainer's paranoia snuck in. I checked KCMLIN's website and confirmed I wasn't going senile.

At 9:35am, no instructor, but 5 out of 7 participants showed up. I called KCMLIN and they hadn't heard word from the instructor, so I looked the instructor's name up online (she's a freelance non-profit and private consultant), called her cell...and no answer.

I made small talk with the class, and my point of no return was going to be 9:45am.

So I'm itching...wondering what to do. I don't have anything scheduled for today, no deadlines to meet that day or the next, so I was free...but I had a 200 page manual staring at me in the face that I had never seen before.

I played it safe till 9:45am came around and the two missing participants hadn't shown up yet. I cracked open the manual, and sure enough, the Excel class covered a lot of the basics I knew, plus one or two topics at the end that I didn't know.

But, according to the manual...it was seven lessons for a total of 8 hours of training, and I had 9:45am-3:30pm...with an hour lunch...to get it done.

I decided to stay and teach. Didn't bother to take a vote to see if the class wanted to reschedule, didn't clear it with my boss, and I didn't clear it with KCMLIN. Customer Service overrode common sense.

The last two attendees came in...leaving me without a book to teach. Thankfully, they were from the same library system and knew each other, so they shared a book.

And I taught. Broke the ice with the typical "whaddya wanna know before I kick you out of here" scenario, and budgets as well as organization was the subject of the day.

By lunch...we were way behind, and I knew it. We'd cover moving around, saving, closing, terminology, entering text and numbers, answering a lot of generic "what is this" questions, and had been working on moving information around on the screen. Quick learners...and once they got used to the football player Stephen King teaching an Excel class, they began to warm up to me. And...I'll admit, I did a better job of remembering names than I ever did. Put me in a pressure situation and I'll do it.

When we broke for lunch, I grabbed a diet coke and some pop tarts and went back to looking at the manual. Turns out, the darn thing is trying to justify every little silly thing it's teaching.

As if you have to justify WHY you need to widen/shorten the column headers, right?

So, I took the manual, made note of the file names, and jotted down the bullet points introduced at the beginning of each lesson.

When the class came back, I told them we were going to cover the entire manual, all 206 pages of it, AND they'll get out early or have a chance to practice.

So, I taught. Quick bullet points, but with enough hands on time to let the practice, and, on occasion, demonstrated actual usage using our patron registration schedules and my own survey tabulations.

We got done a whole 30 minutes early, and I had enough time to check KCScout to make sure their drive home was a safe one. The 30 minutes gave me plenty of time to reassure myself that they got their money's worth in the session and that the class didn't leave frustraited, cranky, confused, or ticked off.

All positive comments down the line...and one even emailed the County Librarian to commend me on my impromptu training, customer service...and the nearly 200 megs of documentation I gave her before she left.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat, I'm just glad the axe didn't come down from anywhere. My boss said she was glad I did what I did, the County Librarian, though unaware of what was going on, replied favorably, and KCMLIN decided to pay me what they would have paid the other instructor..who turned out to have a stomache bug.

I love being in the classroom helping people out, probably as much as IS staff enjoy a postitive transaction with a patron, or a Youth Services staff person enjoys a good program or getting a good book in a youth's hand.

I'll get plenty of it in the future too. Sirsi upgrade scheduled for August. JCLers...you've been informally warned.

1 comment:

lisaflynn5338021516 said...
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