Back when I was a public school teacher, I hated the notion of online learning. I mean, seriously despised it. I feared its robotic world and the isolation of learning from home. Then the pandemic hit, and I was forced to spend the final three months of that career making do.
Okay, sure, after 30 years of teaching, I was marginally acceptable as a new online teacher, and some of my students hung in there doing the best they could as well.
But many of us were mortified to lose the in-person, human component of the traditional classroom. We suffered spiritually. We had to learn a new way to connect with our natural environment when we were not online – and so adjustments were slowly made.
Two years later, I was retired from the public school system and thrilled to be teaching my WorkYourWyrd creative writing courses in person at a local arts venue. It was just a side gig for fun. I was busy with a lot of other things.
Then I unexpectedly moved to an off grid home in Western Montana. Ho boy, here we are again. Isolated with some big horned sheep and a bank of solar batteries, none of whom cared about my creative writing classes, nor my desire to help writers grow.
Enter SkillShare – online lifestyle classes.
Skillshare, known for serving the creative community, was a bit like my own recent venture, no trappings of higher learning bureaucracy, no need to earn credits, nor competition for college admission. A student could take these 20 to 60 minute courses just for the sake of learning at a very small expense- without participating in a daunting college process.
Just show up in your pajamas, share knowledge and skills, and get on with your day! It was a perfect fit for my location, my new semi-retired lifestyle, and a great way to earn a passive income, once I had actually created the course. In one day, I knew I would teach Know Your Writer Style and Beware the Wordy Writer! – two basic courses for novice writers, bloggers, content creators.
What I did not realize is that SkillShare had its own professional standards, and I had initially underestimated them. These were not your typical home videos.
I would not only need solid content for my class (not really a problem), but I would also need to properly film it. I soon learned this was just beyond my skillset. I was intimidated by the technology required. A whiteboard and smelly markers wasn’t going to cut it.
My fiance’ Bob is tech-saavy. Thank the filming gods! He followed the online SkillShare guides, ordered a small microphone for under $20, and got to work with my iPhone, then downloaded a video editing app he already sort of knew, since he is a photographer and generally quick with new techie stuff.
Without Bob, my slides were shit. He showed me how to improve the overall appearance of my slides, which templates and images to access, and how to seamlessly flip from headshots to slides, back and forth, to ease the viewer’s experience.
Without Bob, my video sound was also poor. We had to cut out computer fan fuzziness, which I couldn’t even hear – plus – cawing birds, delivery trucks and trains, then put a hold on activities, like stoking the fire, or walking up and down the creaky steps. We had to stage the room – well – at least pick it up and shut some doors.
Without Bob, I would have stopped my efforts the first time SkillShare administration rejected my not-so-great “shorts”.
Now my resentments grew, and without Bob, I would have never even been rejected the second time, when we still had small issues, because I would have turned away hopelessly long ago. I would have been free. But my person convinced me with his silence.
And without Bob, I would not have persevered and finally made the grade! Nor practiced enough to speak smoothly – the outtakes were hilarious! Nor felt that deep satisfaction of not giving up and realizing that I really was capable.
It was a bit sad to see my wrinkles and grey hair in high definition. Hey Bob – can we fix that, too? I guess students would have to settle for a warm smile and some solid content.
What have I learned? SkillShare demands high quality work. And if I am willing to let people help me, I can meet that challenge. Now, all I have to do is get better at a more natural presentation on film.
It is fine. I don’t mind the world watching me slowly improve. By the way, you can watch my Isa Glade WorkYourWyrd Creative Writing Courses on Skillshare – there’s a first month’s free trial! Here’s the link:
At least now, we’ve got something figured out.