Wednesday, March 28, 2012

School Visit Tip

On Monday, I had a fabulous school visit (there's nothing like being around elementary students to energize a children's author :-). The school I visited was highly experienced with author visits. We had made all the pre-visit arrangements, including having a laptop and projector set up for my PowerPoint slides. Everything was fine. All I had to do was show up with my flashdrive (amongst my other props).


But when I arrived at the school, they told me that they'd had a break-in at the school and their laptops had been stolen. Both the principal and librarian looked at me a bit helplessly and conveyed how terrible they felt that they couldn't provide me with the means to use my PowerPoint slides (which accounts for about half of my presentation!). Could a document projector work? Could I just do without showing the slides?

Luckily, I always carry a set of transparencies with me as a back-up, "just in case."Old school, yes, but when in a pinch... When I asked them if they had an overhead projector, the custodian (standing nearby) chimed in, "Yes! We do! They wanted to get rid of it but I knew someone would need it some day!" He was grinning ear to ear (the hero of the day) and then ran off to set it up for me. I can't tell you how grateful the principal and librarian were that I had come prepared. Multiple times during the day they thanked me for having a back-up plan. This was nice to hear, but more than anything, I was so glad that I didn't have to deal with "winging it" and giving the students less than they deserved. Because really, it's all about the students and what I can give to them.


Experienced visiting authors already know this, I'm sure, but I thought I'd pass the word along for anyone who might be just getting into this realm of being a children's author.


Author visit rule #1: Always be prepared with a back-up plan.
Author visit rule #2: Always be flexible :-)

4 comments:

Jean Reidy said...

Terry - You are 100% right. I've yet to make overheads of my PPT slides, but just last week I had to wing it (no need to go into the gory details) and it might have gotten ugly IF the kids had not been so amazing. They got so into the presentation that it practically ran itself. But your post is a great reminder. I need a better back up plan.

SAVanVleck said...

I'm new to this and will be doing my first presentation this spring. It is great to be reminded that things can, and will, go wrong. Thank you.

Michelle Moller said...

Those are great tips for any occasion! Great story Terry!

Orendia said...

Great tip, thank you!