When teaching someone about Excel spreadsheets, I try to interject that the power of the program can be fun and exciting. Usually, I am met with either blank stares or “the look” flashes across their face betraying hidden thoughts that probably sound something like, “I wonder if she has always been this crazy nerd or if it is a new affliction?”
Of course, once I have my teeth in a potential victim, there is no way I will let them loose without enlightening them on the great powers of Excel, even if only a little bit.
Since most people will respond more appreciatively when offered pictures to enhance the learning experience, I try to encourage them through humor, albeit sometimes dry and as Alyssa would say, “lame.” Can you believe this child that insisted on kicking me the whole time I carried her in the womb would have the nerve to say my humor is lame? Well, believe it!
Anyway, my mother is a seamstress and she sewed all my childhood clothing until I learned to do it for myself at the ripe old age of sixteen. When sewing, no matter how careful the seamstress is with the pins, inevitably one or more will hit the floor. If the pin lands on a tile or wood floor, they are easily found and put away. However, if dropped on a carpeted floor, the pin is easily missed even upon close inspection while on hands and knees. I actually think that the pin sprouts legs and burrows itself into the carpeting – hiding on purpose.
What is the big deal about a pin in the carpeting?
It would not have been a big deal except that we did not and do not wear shoes in the house. So a renegade pin and a bare foot do not make a great combination. Maybe you are beginning to understand the agony I am about to inflict upon your senses.
After a brief explanation of my childhood woes to my perspective student (my point of view) or victim (their point of view), I continue with the advantages of Excel formulas, worksheets and graphs.
Their attention wanes quickly.
Just then, I say, “Do you want to see the kind of graph that you can make with a little knowledge of Excel?”
I would not really describe their answer as exuberant, but my enthusiasm makes up for their ignorance of the true bliss that a nerd can feel when working with spreadsheets.
“Sure,” they respond.
Perfect! They have agreed! This is my opportunity to pull them in a little further, so I pop this graph onto the monitor…
Almost every time, their head slowly turns towards me in total disbelief. Not an, “I am so excited that you are going to teach me how to do this too,” kind of look, but more of a, “I wish the vacuum would suck you up too.”
Can you believe the ingratitude? I am sure, now that you have seen this simple graph, you too want to set up a time for Excel training.
Anybody out there?