I can’t believe the semester is almost over.  It’s interesting how quickly time passes.  The semester has proven to be an intersting one at that.  I have enjoyed all of the things we have done throughout the semester.  I can’t believe I have actually completed an instructional design.  For me that is an accomplishment.  I  can say that I would have had no idea how to even begin without having had this class.  I have also enjoyed the teaching demonstrations.  I have learned what works well and what may not work as well as a teaching strategy (not just in this class, but my other class this semester as well)!  I still can’t get into the whole blogging thing, I do it because it’s part of the grade and requirement, but I always feel like I am just trying to come up with something to say.  Maybe I just need to work on my reflective side, I just can’t get into it.  I can appreciate what the blogging is trying to accomplish, I just wish there was another way.  I think that is all for now, I will be posting a few more blogs between now and our last class!

The world of exploration….

I am beginning to wonder if I will ever find a career that I truly love.  I started working for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society just over 6 months ago thinking that Non-Profit would be perfect for me.  It would be great to go to work and know that I am giving back to something bigger than myself.  Don’t get me wrong there are many rewarding parts to what I do.  I get to watch people go from couch potatoe to completing a marathon, century ride, or triathlon in 4-6 months.  That’s pretty amazing.  They cross that finish line, but they have also helped to raise life saving funds for patients and their families who are experiencing the effects of blood cancers.  It’s pretty amazing.  For some reason there is still a void.  There is a lot of data entry, monotonous things that I do.  I understand that we need to start somewhere in order to move up with the company, but I just don’t think I see myself growing with this company.  The reality of the situation is that the position that I would ultimately end up in requires travel the majority of the week and that is just not something I am ok with.  I don’t know if my husband and I will start a family but, traveling the majority of the week is just not really an option.  I am feeling really lost right now.  Do you ever feel like your just going through the motions?  I just keep holding on the idea that I am in this program because I am passionate about higher education and the importance of ongoing learning.  That is what I am focusing on.  I just have to trust that the steps that I am taking right now will ultimately lead me to that spot within an organization that I LOVE and be have the ability to foster a learning environment where individuals feel good about what they are doing and are experts in their field. 

Geez…I feel like every time I blog I end up venting about something….

Working with females…

You know it’s really interesting that most of my career I have been employed in male dominated industries.  For so long, I have been accustomed to working with males and completely eliminating emotion from my work day.  I am now working for a company that is predominately women and now, having only been employed there for a little more than 6 months, I am already wishing that it was the other way around.  I was out of town all weekend long this past weekend working on a huge event.  These can be very stressful and I recognize that stress levels are high and lack of sleep is definitely cause for short tempers.  It just amazes me that I get back to the office to find out that I have “hurt” someones feeling.  I mean REALLY?  I can take constructive criticism but to hear that I need to watch how I say things because it hurts someones feeling, I just don’t respond to that really well.  I am just to the point.  If I need something to be done differently, or need something, I don’t beat around the bush.  I shouldn’t feel as though I need to sugar coat anything.  I don’t think being direct should be considered disrespectful?  It’s just very interesting to me that the dynamics in a professional relationship working with males and females.  I just don’t get it.  How do you take that feedback but disagree?  I found myself just sitting there agreeing and by the end of it, saying “going forward I will make sure to watch how I say things.”  Aggh!  I just don’t agree. 

Teaching Demonstration

I am really happy with how my teaching demonstration turned out.  I felt really comfortable speaking to the class and felt that I met my learning objectives.  I am excited to recieve feedback from the participants and if they felt the same.  I was very proud of my ability to watch the time and stay within the limits of the assignment.  I must say it’s a lot harder than it looks.  I do hope that Dr. Garland is able to view my video, I would like to see what I look like.  Video is the best way to really see all those weird quirks that you never knew you had.  I did talk to Aaron Paula and she mentioned that at one point I asked a question but didn’t let anyone answer it.  Honestly, I believe it.  I get really excited.  It took me back to lighting the lightbulb.  The teacher was talking about how challenging it was to not answer the question for the student, but instead asking another question.  I have know for a while that Adult Learning and Education was where I wanted to be, but this assignment really solidfied that for me, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.  I take every opportunity with my current position to lead training and development, but look forward to the day when that is my primary responsibility.  Whether thats actually facilitating the training or designing!  I like both!!

The Simple Things…

Do you ever have days where you feel as though it’s the simple things that cause you to get behind?  My goodness!  Do you know how long I have been trying to figure out how to do a hanging indent in word?  I probably shouldn’t answer that question….a long time.  So I am working on my bibliography, which should be a relatively simple and quick process…if it weren’t for the hanging indent!  I keep cursing vista…I should have never gotten vista!  Really that’s not the problem at all.  It’s just user error!  Of course I want to pick up the phone and call someone, but I feel like sometimes I am to quick to ask for help.  I just keep thinking it’s right there….I will figure it out.  Nope.  So about an hour later I pick up the phone to call my Dad and as he answers the phone!  There it is, right there under paragraph, special options, hanging indent!  I mean REALLY???  How many times did I look at that over the past hour??  It’s the simple things….

Fun times…

I don’t have many opportunities to provide training at my organization, we are always so busy with the event planning that training is something that lacks within my organization and of course being a non-profit they certainly aren’t going to pay anyone to handle that.  I think that the fact this aspect of our HR department is lacking is detrimental to our success.  I of course strongly believe in the development of employee and it’s very important to keep them engaged.  I would love to see my company take a more active role with this.  I was excited earlier this week to receive an email asking for my help training a new hire on certain topics.  The only downside, I received the email at 4:30pm and the training was to happen over the phone at 10am the next morning!  I mean SERIOUSLY!  Yay…here’s an opportunity to do something that I love and hopefully apply some of what we have been learning over the semester but I couldn’t because there was no time.  I will say with the short notice that I thought it went really well.  Looking back on it, I did apply some of what we have been doing.  We were on the phone, so I was asking him to find certain things and tell ME how to do it once I had explained it.  So we were really engaging in active learning.  Additionally, at the end I did a fun little evaluation with quiz to make sure he had retained and learned what he need to.  OF COURSE I DID THIS!  WE HAD JUST READ ABOUT IT!! 🙂  I hope I have more opportunities to do this.  The feedback he gave me at the end was he felt my training session was more effective then any of the others because I was making him do it!!  🙂  That put me on cloud nine for the rest of the day!  I truly have a passion for this and I  can’t wait to see what my future holds with opportunities upon completion of the program.  My fear is that I will have the education, but no experience!  It’s really hard to break into this field! 

decisions…decisions….

I don’t know what my problem is.  I can’t seem to decide what I want to do for my teaching demonstration.  I want to do something that I feel comfortable with, but just don’t know what to do!  This is hard for me!  It really shouldn’t be that difficult.  I also can’t seem to decide what I would like to do my instructional design on.  My instinct says customer service, everyone needs help improving customer service skills.  But I am wondering if this will be a good thing to add to my portfolio upon completion of the program.  I want to be very strategic in every project I do during this program.  I am not currently in an HR role or training role, so I want to make sure I have a solid portfolio to show of to future employers that allow them to see that I do have experience from the program here at VCU!  I am really stuck.  I didn’t think I would be nervous at all about the teaching demonstration, but literally I think about it everyday.  I am pretty sure I have been dreaming about it at night too!  I feel like my demonstration date is rapidly approaching and I need to nail something down ASAP!  I teach a group fitness class so I was thinking I could teach the class how to appropriately do a squat safely and effectively.  I am nervous though that  I would be asking the class to step too far out of their comfort zone.  Then I was thinking teaching about understanding ingredients in certain foods and that even though it says it’s healthy, it may not necessarily be true.  Then I go back to thinking, this really wouldn’t help me in the future for potential interviews!  AGGH!  Can you see why I am so lost and wishy washy!  Maybe I am just thinking too much about this! 

Dialogue….

It’s very interesting reading Vella and her use of the word dialogue.  I wonder if she has read Senge?  I read Senge last semester in my Adult Development class and applied his idea of team learning to where a person may be in his or her development.  He believes the that corporations need to incorporate the use of dialogue versus discussion.  Discussion he believes does not incorporate active conversation.   So anyway, she consistency speaks of dialogue and think that is interesting.   I am really enjoying both books so far.  I was telling a friend of mine about the reading and she was like…..it doesn’t sound like fun all you do is read on the weekends.  Well I don’t look at it as work.  The books are very easy to read and I feel like I am gaining a lot from them.  I am looking forward to class tonight and how we will work toward learnng the needs analysis. 

Research Methods….

OH MY!  Well, I am feeling overwhealmed with this whole process!  We have SOOO much work to do and I simply don’t have enough hours in a day!  Every word combination I type into ERIC gives me nothing that I am looking for!  I was thinking that my research proposal would be centered around companies that implement performance objectives, either monthly, quartelry, bi-yearly or yearly, and the impact on employee retention or productivity.  That is a loose idea….but I can’t seem to find anything relating to this topic!  Perhaps I need to change or maybe it’s user error!  Who knows…something needs to start happening though because I need to have quite a bit prepared for class next monday!

Lighting the Lightbulb!

Watching the video about Lighting the Light Bulb was really interesting to me.  I found it interesting that the hands on learning experiences were really being questioned by the instructor’s colleagues (or so they said).  I am a believer in hands-on learning.  Although, I found myself relating when they were talking about the student that rejects it because they are used memorizing notes or vocabulary.  I feel that a lot of my early education was a regurgitation of information.  I quickly learned how to simply give back exactly what the professor said, and usually found pride in the fact that I could memorize so easily while other’s in my class struggled.  However ask me now any of those important dates and numbers and I couldn’t tell you!  It was really refreshing last semester and now going into this semester the collaborative learning and hands on learning that is taking place.  I learned so much from the two classes last semester and find myself thinking about what I learned on a regular basis.  It is exciting for me.  I can see how my teaching philosophy has been developing just in the few weeks that I have now really been thinking about it, but one thing is for sure, I know I won’t be known for giving boring lectures!