The online voice of cambridge campus students
by Rachel Kempen

Journalism student

Who knew that Girl Scout leaders, and craft workshops could be the wake-up call to becoming an instructor? MaryAnn David, a business instructor at Cambridge’s Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) sure didn’t know. “I started teaching art workshops and trained adult Girl Scout leaders. Then it occurred to me that I wanted to be a teacher. I really enjoyed sharing my skills,” said David.

David has since then spent over 30 years as a teacher, and another 15 years as a college instructor. Today one can find her teaching business classes at ARCC. However, she won’t be there for all that much longer. “Currently I’m at retirement age; I plan to continue at this college as an instructor for perhaps a few more years but after that it’s time to pack my bags,” explained David.

Over the course of 45 years of teaching, David has learned a lot about herself she said. “I didn’t expect so much fun and enjoyment in doing what I now love to do! I didn’t ever think I could be teaching college level courses. It’s very exciting!”  David stated.

“I have learned that the more I teach, the more I realize I don’t know. I learn so much from my students every day. It’s great to learn from them,” said David. “I am still in awe of what I do!” 

During her time as an ARCC instructor, David said she had one student teach her an important lesson. There is nothing like a good nap. “I taught a keyboarding class to a very elderly couple (husband & wife) who tried their very best to manage the keyboard. Once though the elderly man fell asleep at the computer, and just leaned on the keys resulting in numerous pages of the same letter of the alphabet going on and on. I just let him sleep, as did his wife,” explained David.

However, David does the majority of the teaching in her classes. There she spends her time reaching out to students, and teaching them about computers and their software. But David said didn’t always teach about computers.

“I’ve always been a good typist and have had years of experience as a secretary. When everything changed to computers, I liked the idea of composing letters and messages via the keyboard and making corrections as you go. We used to use correction tape and white-out and before that, typing erasers and carbon paper. Can you even imagine?” stated David.

But that wasn’t the only thing that excited David she said. “I love the ability to think and speed-write as you go, and then make the corrections right in front of you before printing.  Also, because I am not very good at math, I so enjoy Excel because it can do my math for me!” David explained.

Although David can agree that computers and technology often benefit people, there are some down sides she points out. “With today’s technology and the demand for accelerated, on-line classes, I feel the ‘personal touch’ has been lost. I believe personal communication is critical, and that seems to be gravitating more and more toward ‘texting’… Where is the interpersonal communication and reading of body language to interpret the message as intended?” commented David.

Also David mentioned that technology doesn’t come without its faults. “The college network has a way of ‘acting up’ and it gets frustrating when the computer saves a student’s files to a place where they then can’t find them again,” explained David. “Sometimes though the students just need to pay a little bit more attention to where they save things,”

Although technology can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to be scary said David. “I wish for my students to not be afraid of the computers and to try new things out,” she said. With her older generation students David understands that most are afraid and don’t like the change that technology brings. She can relate.

“At mid-life, I once went from a manual typewriter on the job to an electric, and that was miserable! Younger folks don’t seem to hesitate about jumping into new things and adapting; perhaps they don’t have the experience behind them to see what could go wrong,” David stated.

However, she explains that one shouldn’t be held back by technology but embrace it. “I am at retirement age and going strong; my mother-in-law is 88 with a computer and plays games and surfs the Internet all the time,” said David. “But, I understand that computers can intimidate both the old and young.”

For the next couple years MaryAnn David says she will remain at the ARCC campus. During that time she says her positive and cheery personality will be there to continue to teach students to not be intimidated by computers. She boosts, “I’m quite animated and lively in the classroom.”

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