I have never had to fire anyone before….

I think a success and and a problem situation was in an issue I ran into with a fellow instructor. 

I recruited all of my instructors months and months ahead of time…giving them a lot of time to concept or flush out ideas of how to stagger/structure their section — giving them full autonomy. Unfortunately and perhaps, I did not convey the high standards clearly enough to one of my instructors and I took the word of the instructor that they would be prepared by class time (they had yet to deliver action plans or agenda prior to the class in writing) claiming it was something they were well versed in. I had asked ahead of time — multiple times — for action plans, agendas, ANYTHING in writing with the only response being “Don’t worry Nacho, it is all in here [taps head].”  And I let it slide because I had seen them run other programming flawlessly and tried to not be micromanaging and let my collegue do their process in their own way.

So the day of programming came, they arrived late, with a ward in tow, was un-prepared (no robots or tablets were charged), materials were all over the building (upstairs and downstairs) and we got three hours of rambling lecture and no actual making. The kids were bored and disappointed. 

I made the executive decision, with support of management to get a “relief pitcher” instructor. With less than 24 hours till the next class, we revamped the section, developed an action plan, bought new materials, created a quick lecture with talking points, and had the studio prepped for the project. 

Although it wasn’t my ideal situation for the week and we did end up having to cancel SOME programming time, we were able to bounce back and get the class back on track in a short amount of time. I also have a new parameter of vetting fellow instructors….I just didn’t have that language/vocabulary before.  My relief pitcher instructor was teaching robotics and electronics…and although a rocky start with the changing of instructors we found our flow.

I got the sign that I did the “right thing” on the closing day, we had only 4 participants that day, but we had learned to create a small wire apparatus and had moved onto building an actual robot, including soldering.  Usually half-way through a studio time, I will let the kids take a bathroom break, get a drink, provide more snacks.  So on Friday, half way through class, we had a completely quiet room, with all participants’ noses buried in their work…I offered the break per usual…NOPE!  ALL the participants passed on bathroom and snack because they were so engrossed in their projects and all expressed they didn’t want to stop. That is when we could both have a huge sigh of relief!  We had done it.  We created engaging, interesting programming that the kids were excited and engaged in learning in.

I do worry about how to mend the fence with the original instructor, despite being very VERY explanatory it was not a call based on personality or any of the like, but more about my expectation of professionalism — and a requirement of top level preparation.  Since then, I have also signed up for more safety certification classes ran by the two remaining instructors…just so I can see again (and with the notification that I am auditing for the TMEP) how they run their classroom(s).