Monday, August 4, 2008

man me pt. 3

Before I get in to my time at Toll Brothers, I should take a step back and talk about my other career.  In the summer of 2003 I was approached by the owners of the advertising firm where I worked, one of the photographers that they used had a husband who was a director at Philadelphia University.  He needed someone to fill in for an HTML and JavaScript class for the upcoming semester, and they had recommended me for the position.  I was 25 at the time, had no real public speaking experience, certainly no teaching experience, but I knew that to get anywhere in my field I would need to be able to speak in front of large groups - either in company meetings or speaking arrangements at conferences or what have you.  So I accepted the offer.  And I enjoyed it.  I mean the first day of class I sweated uncontrollably, but each day after that it got easier and easier.

After my first class was over the University asked me to teach another class for the next semester, an ActionScript and Lingo class.  So for a few years I taught those two classes, but in talking with the students and seeing the curriculum I identified several needs and authored a number of classes to fill those needs.  I took the Scripting Languages class and re-worked that, re-writing it to cover .Net and PHP, I authored a Database Management and Scripting course, using PHP and MySQL.  I also authored a Web 2.0 class, which I then re-worked into an ActionScript 3.0/Flex course.  All of my authored classes were worked into the graduate curriculum, and I just piloted my AS3/Flex course this summer.  So for the past couple years now I've been teaching around two classes a semester.

I love teaching.  I mean some days I just want to go home after a long day, but its always worth it.  I've been lucky in that almost all of my students over the past five years have been really into the subject, really interested in learning and worked really hard to get the subject matter.  It's rewarding watching the lightbulb go off when they get something, or watching the slow build up to understanding.  It's also very beneficial for me, as a working professional, to go over these topics that I might not think about too often, it reenforces them and makes my understanding of the subjects that much stronger.  It's also taught me how to mentor and guide, which I was able to take with me to my main career.

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