Today I began the first of six 1.5-hour seminars on Perl for the College. I've never really taught before, let alone in front of 70 other students or so, but I tried my best to go on my experience in giving talks and analyzing other people that give them. This particular week was planned on being an introduction to Perl via learning syntax because, IMHO, one has to learn the syntax before they can begin doing cool stuff. I plan to spend the first half of the next seminar talking about references and namespaces and objects and modules. The second half, and every seminar after that, I will first show really cool things and then explain how it works. "Get them excited, then let them peek under the hood."
If you have cool-as-balls, straightforward scripts and things that you think would excite students who are interested in Perl, I'd love suggestions. So far I plan on at least showing Ricardo's jumping Italian plumber classes as object examples and maybe Brian's tiny web server to get some oohs and aahs. Hrm, The Phalanx 100 has a list of popular kickass modules....
Things I need to improve upon: Occasionally I'll slip up with a self-degradating comment, but I think I do this because audience seems to be bored. I feel like giving them a rise as a reward in turn for slogging through some boring part.
I apparently need to go through code examples a bit slower. I learned afterward that, even though they didn't speak up, some people were frantically typing in the code on my slides. For the next talk I will provide code examples in a shared location on the college file server as well as on the web.
Also, I didn't really use the terminal at all. I completely forgot about it. I even keep a full-screen, large-font, Damian-inspired term open that's ready for usage.
Things I appear to be good at: Keeping people mostly interested. People seem to usually be facing forward. However, nobody gets my completely random humor just yet --- my next batch of slides will have to have even more random pictures.
Also, I made sure to not to single out closer friends to make other people feel like the out-group.
Things I wish would happen: I'd really like the audience to be a bit more participative. Laugh, goddammit! This class is free. There are no grades and there is no homework. You are here because you are interested in this whole Perl thing. Have fun with it!
$writing_project is coming along. My goal for the end of the semester is at least 25 solid pages of prose, as well as
$writing_project->proposal(), which will be generated soon.
Now off to Atlanta for the LISA conference with Pete, Muncus (on right) and Russell. Smack-dab in one of the more hellish parts of the semester. If anybody else is going to be there, let me know -- let's grab a beer.