Archive for November, 2011

To My FYE Class

November 21, 2011

A metaphor to start off with-

For the past 4ish months I’ve had to wear an additional hat.  I’ve tried on the hat before while at other schools but it’s been a “fitted” hat with not much wiggle room.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve worn the hat.  Some great stories and contacts have come out it and whether wearing it by myself or with someone else, the hat has always brought me a smile.

This time was different.  I got to try this hat on all by myself.  It’s like that first ballcap after the kids sizes and the ones you get for playing Little League with the mesh back.  I got to try a few different ones on, see what fit best, size it up just right, and enjoy it walking out the door.  I’ll never forget those other hats!  A lot of them are still around and could never be forgotten, but this one just feels a little different and I loved every minute of it.

-End metaphor-

This semester I was asked to teach a First Year Experience class here at QU.  I’ve taught classes before at Brockport and RIT but each of those had certain parameters and goals to complete.  This one was simple- teach what you want, but do it in a way that introduces them to the college and college level work.  I had the opportunity this time to shape it however I liked.  So, through combining my undergraduate and graduate degree, along with an ongoing hobby, FYE 0013 was born.  “Communicating in a Digital Age”.  And since the end of August, I have attempted to teach this class to 17 first year nursing students.

Some classes worked, others bombed, but I hope at the end they left with a little better idea of how to be successful as a college student.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to share this and other thoughts with them at the end of our last class together.  We did end it with a bang (really it ended with a baby thanks to an interesting skit done by some students exhibiting the um, graphic, effect that Florence Nightingale had on the nursing field).  While we were recovering from laughter, I noticed they had to go and quickly touched on the theme of what I had to say while telling them they could find the rest on this blog.  So without further ado…

(Draws a door on the chalkboard)

“It has been an extreme pleasure to be your FYE teacher for the past 13 weeks.  For the past 13 weeks, I’ve thrown different topics at you but I’ve got one more thing to sum it all up.

To me, college is all about doors.  They are essential to your experience here and you’ve been doing awesome with them so far.  Walking around buildings, teachers offices, even this door right here (pointing to the front classroom door), I’ve appreciated each time you’ve walked through it.  Some of you later than others, but you’ve taken a great many steps just by walking through that door.  I hoped I’ve made each time you’ve done that just a little worth your time.

It was your choice to walk in here though.  You don’t have to and I recognize that.  That choice right there should be respected and honored and I feel awesome every time you do.

Many doors will open to you at this school and in your life.  Sometimes you’ll run up to take the first step.  Sometimes you’ll choose to stand in the doorway and peer in.  Sometimes, the door will shut right in your face when you just steps away.  And other times, the person or persons on the other side will be the thing that will make all your cares go away.  It’s your choice to walk through them.

Sometimes this class didn’t work for you and that’s ok.  Not all the doors are going to work.  Some will be locked, some trip you up making you fall flat on your face, and some slam right back at you knocking you back to square one.  We keep trying until we find one that opens.  I kept trying, presenting you with a number of different topics and ideas.  I appreciate that you took the time to come back and see what the next door had to offer.

But now we have to close this door.  Don’t worry.  I’ll still be here.  The door will always read “FYE- Communicating in a Digital Age- Jeff Spain”.  Even with the door shut on this class, I’m still on the other side.  You just need to knock and I’ll answer.  Can’t let you walk back in but I’ll step out and see what I can do to help you with the next door you’re staring at.

There are many folks out there that are willing to help.  Some may be here at QU, others may only be reachable by Facebook, but there’s always someone out there to help.  You just need to knock.  To often, this is where students, even grownups, get stuck.  I know I did.  Someone will always be there to answer your knock or help you through a door.  Feel free to try me.  I may not answer right at first, but I’ll really try to be there when you have a question or need a hand.

I hope I opened a few doors for you whether to the nursing field, or to QU, or to just showing that you can function at 8:30am.  I hope for those of you that don’t see the benefit right now, that at some point, you’ll look back on the door and, at the very least, smile.

Good luck in all that you do!  I can’t wait to see what that is!  Thanks for a great semester!”

I imagine that this wouldn’t have come out exactly this way.  There probably would have been big hand gestures, ad libs (especially that “getting stuck” part), and a few laughs:-)

I had a blast teaching the class and hope to do it again.  To these and all the students I’ve opened doors to, good luck and please don’t get stuck!  I’ll always be here if you do.

Thanks for reading…


CONGRATS to Uncle Al!

November 8, 2011

BIG congrats to my Uncle Al who won the election for North Greenbush supervisor! Beat the other guy by almost a 2-1 margin!

A few months ago, this guy that he ran against used a picture from this blog to attack my Dad so I know he’ll be reading this at come point.  A few weeks later, this same classy guy also had the balls to attack my grandmother who passed away in another post of his.  I was so tempted at that point to come out swinging (and I had some good stuff too) but I could hear my grandmother in the back of my head saying, “Jeffrey!”.  So, we had a quick chat… or maybe just a one-sided one because all I could hear was, “Jeffrey!” and I held back from raining down the fire of the internets.

Instead, in honor of her and the appropriate, classy, and respectable campaign that my Uncle ran, I will simply post this picture:



Congrats to you Uncle Al! Best wishes also go out to Aunt Mary Beth, Sarah, Eric, their two cute kids Nick and Lila, Patrick, Anna, and Nathan as they support him moving forward.  Hope you all are doing well!
I usually end with “Thanks for reading…” but instead this deserves a new one…

Thanks for winning