Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thank Goodness the Market Crashed

These were the words out of the furnace repairman's mouth that really startled me! Why would a stock market downturn be good news for anyone?

Our repairman has worked in the field of heating and cooling systems for many years now; over 20 years. When I asked him how the trades industry (specifically his field) was doing today, his response was that the graduates of technical schools today do not have sufficient training to do the job at his level under pressure, but are demanding high wages and getting them because the trades industry has not been able to find enough skilled workers. Getting a job is easy, but keeping it when you don't have skills or the drive to learn more than what you learned in school makes it hard to keep a job. You become someone's short term solution.

Check out the resume. A worker who wants to be paid first, learn later has worked a huge number of job sites in a short period of time.

Why did you leave this last job?
Things didn't work out.
What about the employer before that?
Uhh...the boss was a jerk.

They don't seem to notice a pattern, or are unwilling to do anything about it.

Now with the downturn in hiring thanks to the stock market crash, Dave figures that this will help weed out the less skilled workers, and there will be more unemployment. This will enable him to hire the more skilled, more experienced workers.

Have realistic expectations with respect to wage for your level of experience. If you don't know something, ask. Be relentless until you solve your problem. Employers hire, fight to retain, and head hunt for employees like this. And employees who show passion for their job enjoy their job more.

The other guys try to cruise through their jobs, crossing their fingers that the market won't crash again.

How am I supposed to know what I need to know?

Yesterday my students and I were using sketchup. This is a free 3d architecture program that I really enjoy. But, we ran into a problem. We thought we knew how to do something with the program (for those of you who know sketchup we were trying to create "groups" and "components", but it doesn't really matter what we were having problems with). I had taught the basics of sketchup using video tutorials from the Sketchup YouTube Channel.

I knew the answer was in this one video tutorial that I embedded in our classroom website. I told three students at the end of the period to review this video (approximately 7 minutes long). I reviewed the video myself and found out what I was doing wrong. When I asked my three students the next day who reviewed the video to solve their problem, here is what I found. None of the students had reviewed the video. Only 1 student went home and did some experimentation to see if he could solve the problem, but didn't review.

This tells me either:

A) My students are used to being told to find answers but have realized that if they wait someone will find the answers for them and tell them.

B) They don't understand review is an active process where you seek out what you need to know because you don't know it yet! They view review as a passive process, like waiting in line at the grocery store.

Either way, this is not good. 21st Century learners have to figure out what they don't know yet, and how to go and find the knowledge they need.

I reviewed and I learned. I have to teach them to figure out what they need to learn. I have to teach them to review. That is the real lesson I am teaching.

Drives me nuts that people think I am teaching "computers."