Adrian Magson

Thursday, 12 November 2015

To Skype or not to Skype...

Spending most of my days staring at a PC monitor, hoping for flashes of inspiration, it's easy to think that you have to get out there to interact with people. (Ann, my wife, is often heard to suggest that I should get out more, but I think she means it in a different way). The truth is, putting aside fleeting chats on social media, I don't actually speak to many live persons day-to-day.

Which is not something I mind particularly.

But recently I was asked to chat to the year 7 class of students in the Sir Harry Johnston International School, Zomba, Malawi, and answer some questions about my writing.
Use Skype, went the conversation with the tutor, Colin Doney - or Mister Colin Doney, as they respectfully call him.

Easy for him to say. I'd only ever used Skype once before - and that hadn't been memorable enough to make me want to repeat the experience. It had been like talking to people through a fish tank wearing a snorkel and mask.  

However, not one to signal defeat, and happy to help out, I had a quick run-through with Colin, then waited for the call.

Happy to say, it was a memorable experience, and for all the right reasons. The connection wasn't perfect (probably my end, not theirs), but the questions from the students were. And not one of them asked where I got my ideas from! They were polite, interested and engaged, and had clearly thought through their questions beforehand.

As it happened, the event got coverage in the local newspaper, too. Okay, I'm not German, and there was a typo with my name, but what's a couple of errors between friends?

So, I'm sending a big high-5 to the year 7 students - not forgetting tutor Colin - for dragging me away from my isolation for a while and making me think on my feet. I had a buzz doing it and I hope they gained from the experience, too.

Interestingly, the school has three keys to success, which probably underpins the students' attitude and interest:
  • Be Determined
  • Be the Best You Can
  • Be Cool (taking a pride in ourselves and being in control of our choices)

I like that.


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