Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mrs. Joyce Calhoun

Here is my vote for one of the most influential EHHS teachers in my life. Mrs. Joyce Calhoun. She was a fairly obscure typing teacher and maybe of some other office-related subjects that I no longer recall—if ever I knew what they might have been. During my secondary education my father made but one academic recommendation that I clearly recall and that was to be sure to take a typing course.

I think it was about the Junior year that I took Mrs. Calhoun’s one-semester typing course. The room was filled with older manual typewriters and about 4 IBM Selectrics with that neat little ball head. Everyone wanted the electrics, but there were only four. Beyond the endless, “fgf, fgf, fgf, fgf, and jhj, jhj, jhj, jhj,” exercises and some timed typing speed tests, I remember little about the course. However, it’s the few things that I do remember that made a huge difference in my life.

Mrs. Calhoun encouraged us to be neat and accurate with our typing work. She said, “That letter or paper you submit for someone else to read will represent you. Be sure that it represents how you want to be viewed.” For some reason her words stuck in my head and all during my adult life I have been very careful to make sure my written work is correct and represents how I want myself to be viewed. That’s a powerful lesson to have emanated from one obscure typing teacher.

There is one other important thing that taking the obscure Mrs. Calhoun’s obscure typing class yielded. When typewriters gave way to computers and printers, for me and I’m sure for many others who had learned touch typing, the transition to computer keyboards was seamless. Not so for those who never took that little typing course. Over the years I have seen many very talented people who never learned how to type, struggle with how to get along with their computers—top level engineers reduced to a hunt and peck keyboard entry style and such. Contrast that with someone who can type at 40-60+ words per minute and you can see how the difference in productivity can be striking.

Thanks for the advice, Dad. Thanks for the course, Mrs. Calhoun.


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