Making a PowerPoint Presentation for Windows 7 Class
Today, I taught my first class using Microsoft PowerPoint! For almost a decade, I’d been a work-at-home mom. Before that (in the nineties), I was a teacher. Recently, my husband has decided to switch careers—he found a job that allows him to stay home with the kids most days so I decided that it would be a good time to get back into teaching. I interviewed for a couple of places and was made to conduct demo classes: I was pretty surprised when I wasn’t accepted because the kids responded alright and I knew I didn’t leave out any of the important lessons. This happened around three or four times. The last time, I asked the supervising teacher for feedback: I really didn’t know what I was doing wrong. She informed me that unfortunately, the teaching world had changed drastically since I’d been active in the field. She told me that a lot of the students (I forgot to mention—I teach fifth grade English) complained about my lesson being “boring” and “weird” because I’d used cardboard and flashcards as visual aid. Much to my dismay she informed me that most of the lectures now were conducted via PowerPoint presentation. And that’s when I thought that I would never, ever be able to make it as a teacher again. I spent a few weeks kicking myself in the head for not learning how to use PowerPoint earlier (I’m 42).
After asking my kids (10 and 13, respectively) to try and teach me how to use the program—which they failed at doing not because they aren’t good at it but because I couldn’t understand certain things which they already knew by heart and thus, had difficulty explaining (for example, how to activate a slideshow). I contemplated enrolling in a couple of classes nearby but when I went to sign up I saw that most of the people signing up were either twelve-year-olds who were looking to advance their skills or 21-year-olds who were looking to get a certification so they could apply to their jobs. I was overcome with copious amounts of anxiety and fear and (I’ll say it) shame—I would obviously be the only one there who hadn’t the slightest idea what I was doing. I even went to the length of asking the center if someone could tutor me privately. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.
And then I decided to meet up with my friend Linda, who’s also a teacher (except that she didn’t stop practicing when she had her kids). We were college roomies and used to work together at the Elementary school where I taught before I got married and had kids. I asked her how she’d done it—half wanting to know, half licking my wounds. Fortunately for me, I don’t think she caught the latter half and she told me about this website! She said that this was how she’d done it—although of course, she’d taken one of their earlier courses a couple of years ago, she’d also recently finished this course which helped her understand the new software on the school’s brand-spankin’-new classroom desktop computers. She told me to check it out. I was hesitant at first because heck, I have trouble organizing my e-mail: how was I supposed to navigate an online course?
Thankfully, though she convinced me to go give it a look, anyway—just in case, no promises. And wow. I was surprised at how easy the website’s interface was to navigate and how well the lessons were outlined. This is coming from a teacher—good job to the people behind these classes! I finished the module in about a week. The best thing about this class is that they have screenshots (yes, I know that word now) of the program’s interface so you know exactly what they’re talking about. The practice exercises really helped me out as well. I finished this class two weeks ago—after which I applied to a local Elementary school in a city nearby. I got in! Most of the stuff that I used for that demo class, I got from this online course: they aren’t kidding when they say they’ll tell you everything you need to know. If someone had told me a few months ago that I’d get back into teaching via a really snappy PowerPoint presentation using custom animation and graphics, I would’ve said you were crazy. Now, I would say: bring it on! If any of you reading this are in a similar situation, don’t hesitate to sign up for this!