Monday, June 4

green apples

i taught my last web design class this morning. summer is upon us, chewing on people's brains.

everyone needs reminding, from time to time, that the rest of the world doesn't think quite the same way that you do. teaching isn't the only way for such reminding to take place, but it is one way in which your ability to cope with the frustration of all those other minds and how they learn is pretty crucial. they way i learned web design is not the way anyone else learned it, or should learn it. the world changes from minute to minute and so do the people in it.

i still don't know much about the way other people think, but i've learned a bit of patience. i've also had to forgive myself. there are a lot of important things i didn't teach as well as i could have. there are things that i didn't teach at all. there are things did teach that i didn't feel really sunk in.

i never did talk the school district into recognizing the virtues of mozilla firefox. i didn't get into image editing at all. my students never fully understood the point of external stylesheets. will they remember the four little principles of design that i taught them?

but what can i do? an hour a week every monday... that's not so much. they will have to go out and keep learning on their own, without me. they'll have to find their own friends to build websites for and their own relatives' servers to host things on.

i learned a lot of vocabulary. before, i never had to know what the right terms were for html attributes and css syntax, but i wanted to teach it all, so i had to hammer things like selector { property: value; } into my head. and i had to explain it fifteen different times fifteen different ways, for the kids who missed last week or came in late, or just don't remember what css stands for anyway.

you can't rush things. you can lecture your students for an hour on why the font tag is evil and useless, but you can't force them to see what web standards are all about even over the course of a four month class. they'll see it when they want to see it. when they need to. i'm just a tool. a doorway.

no, not even a doorway. a small key in the rusted lock on a gate in the middle of a falling-down picket fence, bordering a long stretch of wild garden.

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