Loose Threads

I was putting together some course materials about WordPress for my day job when I logged into this site to check something. I hadn’t realised before yesterday but today marks exactly a year since my last blog post. (I actually log in all the time to update WordPress and plugins, but scarcely to write.) I pointed this out to my token reader and she wondered if I was a bit beyond blogging. I personally felt I had just fallen off a bandwagon.

It had all got too hard. I was worried about my career. I wanted to start again, from scratch, and do differently all those things I now know should have probably been done differently. The thought of rearranging this site seemed so scary/hard that I ultimately bought a new domain to start a new site. But even that is on an ever growing ‘to do’ list. I don’t know…

So much has changed in recent years but when I go to tell you exactly what it is hard to know what to put my finger on. I have a day job, for starters. I am an educator. I teach people about web design and development. I teach people about CSS and PHP and JavaScript and Content Management Systems. I made a conscious decision at the beginning of this year that I would only teach things I was personally interested. Last year I was gifted with some amazing opportunities at work, but they didn’t always feel amazing. Often I felt a little too stretched in too many directions. Too much traveling, for starters.

This year has been different. I’ve been involved in developing an online course for my employer. The workload has been intense. Sometimes the most time consuming thing is just thinking about how to explain concepts. I think I am better for the experience. I think the way I will present things in the classroom, and online, will be better for it. I cringe a little bit looking at some of my earlier work. A negative experience as a student has always haunted me. I never want my students to feel like I have abandoned them. Unfortunately I have usually overcompensated for this, sometimes writing great tomes when really all they needed was a few core concepts clearly explained.

I haven’t taught much this year at all. But I have had opportunities to get to know the students I will be teaching later in the year. I forget how ‘green’ they are when they first arrive in our classes. I forget how mind boggling web design and development can be. I think the students forget this too. I try to remind them when they are feeling overwhelmed by it all of how much they have achieved, and how far they’ve come. Another class consists mostly of former students returning for more advanced subjects. They are genuinely the most wonderful bunch of students I have ever encountered. They are so enthusiastic. When they hit a wall, they take a break, regroup and try tackling the task again. They are an inspiration to all of their teachers, I’m sure.

I have to remind myself how far I’ve come too, at times. The rate of change when it comes to technology is unprecedented. Some days I’ll log in to Twitter and see something on some new exciting technology and my brain will just go, “No. Not now.” It can be so overwhelming at times. I have set up some special social (media) infrastructure to stay up to date but sometimes it is too much, and too soon. I want to learn. Some days I miss being a student. I miss making things. I miss building websites. I want to be useful and I want my work to be meaningful.

But there are other threads too that I stare at sometimes, wondering if I should pick them up once more. The artwork. The music. The writing. I’ll listen to Metallic Scream and be humming silly melodies for weeks. I debated taking a cooking class at a local community college for fun, but naturally it coincided with the only day I’m teaching this term. Sometimes I wish a voice from the sky would just tell me what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, because I never have any sense of what that might be.

This is all I have right now. But I will try to write more. Don’t be a stranger, say ‘hi’ in the comments.

4 comments… add one
  • Henry


    • Hi Henry! Thanks for the heads up about the comments not working.

      • Henry

        Hi again. It’s been good to read your blog. I can still remember you posting to LJ about your reception job years ago so I think you have made a lot of progress with your career 🙂

  • Hi John! Wow you have accomplished and are accomplishing a lot. So the cooking class being on the only day you teach? That IS the sign you’re looking for. I bet you’re a great teacher.

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