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ENGAGE Blog Writer

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Rui sitting at the computer
I felt so embarrassed when I could not answer their questions because I do not have iPhone5 and do not know how to use the new application

For the last few months, I spent a few hours every Saturday teaching seniors how to use computers for an organization called Light and Love Home. I want to share my teaching experience with you.

When I was a volunteer teacher for the computer class of seniors, I was so surprised that seniors have such a great passion to learn how to use computers. For example, the senior I taught was a Chinese woman. She cannot speak English and her granddaughter cannot speak Chinese and they live far away from each other. The Grandmother would like to receive photos via email from her grandchildren, who live far away from her, although they cannot talk or write to each other in English. Lots of seniors feel lonely because some of their grandchildren cannot communicate with them in the same language. But they try to interact with their grandchildren by learning how to use computers and the Internet to do so. Although it is hard for them to learn, they still have passion to peruse learning this new technology.

In addition, I found that sometimes it is hard to teach seniors how to use high-tech devices. Because, on the one hand, I find that nowadays technology is not convenient for seniors to use. For example, most of the seniors have poor eyesight, so they cannot see the letters on a keyboard very well and it is hard for them to type words. Maybe it just takes us a few seconds to type the address of website, but it takes them about three or four minutes to complete this whole process. Sometimes they get frustrated because even if they finish typing the whole address of website, some misspelled words could not get them to the correct website. On the other hand, seniors' memories are not as good as young people. For example, last week I taught them how to open an email step by step and left them a note to review, but one week later, they forgot most of the steps. So I have to teach them again. As a result, most of time I spend in the class is to review what they have learned before and give them time to practice by themselves.

Furthermore, I think that we, as volunteers, should update our skills of computers, as well, because some of the seniors in the class brought an iPhone 5 to the class and asked us how to use a new application. I felt so embarrassed when I could not answer their questions because I do not have iPhone5 and do not know how to use the new application. It becomes a motivation for me to search online afterwards and I tried to summarize how to use the new application and teach the senior to use it step by step according to their preference.

In conclusion, being a teacher is not as easy as I thought. Teaching requires me to accumulate more hands-on experience and improve my knowledge, as well. Otherwise, we cannot be qualified as a teacher.

ENGAGE Blog Writer

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