Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Those who can, teach. Those who can't, volunteer like they know what they're doing.

The interns get to the Design Associates office before I do. (I generally roll in around 8:15 to 8:20am and just work through part of lunch so I can leave at 5pm.) As I walk in, they follow me from the lobby to my desk and then get their marching orders for the day. Now, bear in mind that I really didn't want to do as much as I've done so far. I had to get them started with computers and some other tasks last week, but thankfully someone in the office had a great little job for them that involved using some simple tasks in a few software applications that they just learned.

This week, one colleague of mine named Art volunteered to give the interns some experience and guidance in freehand drawing and rendering. I brought the interns upstairs yesterday to met with Art, but he wasn't in yet. I called the front desk, and they heard he wouldn't be in until Tuesday. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! I saw two small sketchbooks on his desk, which I handed to the girls along with a couple of pens from his desk. I sat them down at a table with a few things to draw as a still life, gave them a few ideas on what to draw, then turned them loose. A little over two hours later, they came to my desk.

"Pixie," one of them said, "Art still isn't here, and we've sketched the stuff you left twice."

My ire grew. Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!!

I grabbed my wallet and keys and took the girls on a little trip to a nearby art supply store in a strip mall and got them some pencils and erasers. (Note to self: file that expense report.) I gave them something new to draw, then gave them more suggestions on drawing with softer pencils. I walked over to longtime coworker/pal Sarge's desk and began to quietly hiss the words "I am so pissed at Art..."

Suddenly, I saw him. Finally. At 11-fucking-am. I acted super-glad to see him, worried he might have seen or heard my ire--though why should I care?--and then asked what he had planned for the interns. Turns out he's only working part time in the office at DA right now, just Mondays and Thursdays. To add to this, I have software training with Sarge Tuesday through Thursday this week, so it's not like I can help him take care of them while he's out. If I were able to help, should I be? I need volunteers with this so that no one person has too much to do, including me, and so far, I've put a lot more effort into this than I wanted to or expected to. Why did he volunteer to help with this if he's gone more than half the fucking week?

So, he figured out some stuff to give them to do that didn't need guidance, per se. He left his email and phone number in case they had questions. Still, this is bullshit. He's got them doing some stuff that doesn't exactly feel like he's teaching them anything, but at least I don't have to be there.

The Buddhist/Yoga way of looking at this might be that I have a different view of what teaching and mentoring high school students require, especially students who are thinking about entering the design field but aren't fully sure. I feel like you need to work with them on a daily basis, spend a certain amount of time with them explaining things, reviewing their work, answering questions, and so on. Asking them to trace other people's renderings doesn't sound very edufuckingcational to a Shorty. It may be my approach is over-involved and unnecessary, which is why it wears me out so much.

Well, regardless, I'm in software training. Sarge, if you're reading this, I know I look bored, but it beats doing my actual job right now. (And you're getting me out of the OAC at MHRC, which means Jann has to go in my place. I can't thank you enough.)

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