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TO: Ron Pendleton
FROM:
Phil Fournier
DATE:
10/25/2004
RE: EVOC 501, FA9 writing assignment, related studies

 

Computer Skills 

 

I see computer skills as being key to success as an instructor, and certainly they are at the top of my list.  As a result of several community college classes beginning in 1995, I have become fairly proficient at Microsoft Office, including all products with the exception of Front Page (I am hoping to learn a good bit about this in Shady’s 519 class tomorrow).  I am very good in Word and fairly proficient in PowerPoint, though I would like to learn how to insert video into my presentations.  I will be looking for a seminar or possibly an online course such as the AIM website (looks pretty good) rather than a quarter-long course to gain skill in PowerPoint.  While Access may not have much use in teaching (that I have found as of yet) it is a powerful tool which I use in my business, as well as Excel.  I am also quite proficient with Microsoft Publisher as a result of a staff development class in desk top publishing that I took while teaching at MSJC.  I have recently purchased an LCD projector and look forward to using it more for presentations now that I have one of my own.   

Diet & Exercise

 

I see this as very important to my overall health.  I took up tennis about three years ago and find it is a sport I enjoy that also gives me good exercise.  I have high cholesterol and am on a cholesterol reduction drug, but at the same time I have changed my diet to avoid fatty foods.   I need to keep up with the tennis and not allow the pressures of work, school, and teaching to stop me as it is very easy to get out of the habit of exercise.  Fortunately, my day job is far from sedentary, but it does not include anything cardio-vascular so I need to include some kind of sport that makes me sweat and breath hard.

 

Creative Writing

 

I’m not sure how drastically important this skill is to teaching, but I enjoy writing and expressing myself well.  I learned to write in College English classes and have leveraged that skill in a number of different directions.  I write technically for trade magazines, and although I have editors who will correct mistakes, I have found that they like my work even more because they have very little correcting work to do.  Typically, they spend more time simply reducing word count because of the space limitations of a magazine.  Additionally, I have published a book which I co-authored about my life and work.  On an ongoing basis, I write a weekly Bible study in Spanish and a Sunday School lesson in English.  I am supposed to take an upper division writing course to get my BVE.  I’d like to think I can pass the proficiency exam, but if I have the time, it might be more fun to take the course.

 

Elements of Design

 

I have very little interest in Art, but I would like to learn more about design; particularly, the designing of websites and presentations to make them look attractive.  This one will probably have to wait for some time while I get other things out of the way first.

 

Music

 

I took my very first music class (American Music) in the summer of 2003.  I think I was a pretty big frustration to the instructor as every time he said “you guys already know this stuff” I would shake my head no.  I learned a great deal about the history of American music and in particular, I learned about the music that is written for film.  Formerly, I had never paid attention to it; it was kind of just there in the back ground.  Now, I pay close attention to how the film makers use music to enhance the theme of the movie.  All of my children and my wife play the piano, and I would someday like to learn to play myself.  Like the above, this is one that will have to wait.

 

Financial Planning

 

This is important for everyone.  I was fortunate to make some good choices and take some calculated risks early in my life that have worked out well for me.  As an employer, I have observed how poor financial planning and budgeting have caused endless grief to some of my employees.  As a result, I have incorporated a retirement plan into my small business and offer my employees the financial planning that goes along with it.  One of the reasons I want to finish my degree is because I enjoy teaching so much it would feel like being retired and soon I will be able to live well on the reduced income I would realize as a teacher instead of a small business owner. 

 

Public Speaking

 

I consider myself to be pretty good at this, mostly by reason of lots of practice, but also because of two different speech classes I took at community college.  But there are a number of things I think I could improve on, particularly the control of my facial expressions, which my wife and others have told me can be distracting.  Now that I am aware of them, I am trying to learn to control them on my own.

 

Acting/Drama

 

While I have no plans along this line, I do have one incentive to find some way to learn this skill.  I have to change my TV commercials for my small business every year or so, and the script writer who writes my commercials loves to have me as an actor in them.  I have found it to be EXTREMELY difficult, and not at all like other types of public speaking. 

 

Police Ride Along

 

This sounds like fun.  My niece is a 911 operator and I have often thought about going to work with her and listening in.  Once again, my already very busy schedule does not allow this to be high on the priority list.

 

Martial Arts

 

I put this at the bottom of my list simply because I have never given it a moment’s consideration.  But, this has at least planted a seed.  Perhaps I will consider it some time in the future.