On Thursday, I offered up a daydream of what my first day might look like when I step in front of the class this fall as an instructor at the University of Washington’s new professional certificate program in Workplace Learning and Professional Development.
This is what a second day in the classroom might look like:
“Sir, you promised to reveal the identity of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named today.”
“Well, I am a man of my word. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is…”
“C’mon professor. It’s lecture isn’t it?” It was that arrogant blonde boy again.
“No, it’s not lecture. While lecture is an oft-overused tactic, it’s not inherently evil.”
“Is it disorganization?” asked the round-spectacled boy with a scar on his forehead.
“Close, Mr. Potter. But not quite.”
“Is it boredom?” asked the goofy looking kid who never quite seemed to get it right.
“No, Mr. Longbottom. Although you-know-who often causes boredom. The true identity of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is someone you’ve all seen before. He was a student here long ago. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.” I wrote the name Zane S. Sil on the blackboard.
The students exchanged confused glances with one another. “I’m sure you’ve seen the influences of Zane S. Sil in presentations you’ve attended. Perhaps, if you think hard enough, you’ll see him in yourself as well. You’ll see him every time you’re asked to give a presentation and the first thing you do is open PowerPoint. You’ll see him in a presenter who begins a presentation with the silly disclaimer: ‘I want this to be an interactive session, so be sure to ask questions as I go.’ You’ll see him in a presenter who talks at the audience, making no effort to engage them. You’ll see him in a presenter who insists that there’s no reason to get too creative with a topic because his audience just needs to know what he’s about to tell him.”
“I got it!” It was the smart girl. “Zane S. Sil isn’t a student’s name… it’s an anagram!”
I smiled. This Hermoine Granger is one smart cookie. “Yes, Miss Granger…” I began, and the letters on the blackboard magically began to re-arrange themselves. A murmur arose amongst the students. I heard a scream from the back of the room. One student passed out. It was simple. And terrifying. Continue reading