Sunday, October 6, 2013

Counting Up to the 30,000 Pageview of Gopher Genealogy

Four more pageviews to go and this blog will reach 30,000 pageviews in two and a half years. The ride has been fun, sharing with family, friends and fellow genealogists. This week included teaching a class at the senior center and one at the local genealogical center, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, to the Virginia Interest Group.

The senior center classes are operated through the local school district. While serving on the school board for eight years it was not appropriate for me to be hired by the district. After stepping down from that service, teaching for them is a different type of service. There is some pay for this, but nothing like my normal charges. Part of my willingness to do this is to offer encouragement to the attendees in their research.

For the past two years, during fall, winter and spring semesters, we spent several Tuesday mornings together. When we first started the participation was weak, but in reformatting the classes with better explanations in the catalog of each topic and where each class is $10 or they can pay for five and get the sixth one free, attendance has grown. Each semester we cover six of my lectures, so they can get eighteen lectures in a year or pick and choose the ones that interest them. The class sizes vary. The summer semester is my break time to spend more time with my family, so teaching is limited.

From the local genealogical societies and family history center fairs there are requests for presentations. Each year my calendar keeps growing and this year there were a few requests times that would not work. It is very enjoyable speaking to genealogists. They seem to accept me even with my shortcomings. My hearing is an issue if I have a cold or ear problems. In teaching we should all realize that even the best presenters will have memory blanks, equipment malfunctions, and not have all the answers to all of the questions.

This year if my calendar plays out there will be 36 presentations, some given at the same event. When there is a need to travel one of my family or friends often go with me. If traveling more than a couple of hours away we usually stay there the night before. When teaching several classes in a day my stamina is pretty much exhausted. My hope is that when some of my major stress factors level out I will feel more up to traveling.

Teaching is stressful, but usually when the class is over there is a sense of accomplishment. There are so many unexpected things that can complicate the situation and it becomes critically important to plan ahead, be sure communications are clear, know where you are going, arrive early, and never be afraid to say you just don't know when asked a challenging question. The serendipity moments that can occur in these situations are the frosting on the cake.

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