Monday, October 03, 2005

Typing 101 Class *&^%

Reading Lori’s blog about the age of computers reminded me of my own computer experience in typing class. (Were you in my typing class Lori?)

In 1988 I was a high school freshman and signed up for an easy A in typing at Don Antonio Lugo High School—East Campus. (We had an East campus which consisted of portables in a parking lot around the corner from the main campus because our school was so dang over crowded there was no room left for the incoming freshmen.) Our teacher, Mrs. Burr, was used to teaching typing on typewriters. Lucky her, our school had just switched over to computers where we learned to type in Word Perfect 5.1. She didn’t like it one bit. Here she is—faced with a bunch of bratty freshmen who knew way more about computers than she did. Nonetheless, she stuck to her old ways when it came to typing. She laminated sheets of construction paper and taped them to the tops of the keyboards so that we couldn’t cheat by looking at our hands. We had to flip up this paper “hood” to put our hands under top begin typing.

She would teach us to center a title or heading by counting all the letters/spaces in our title, subtract that from 66 and divide by two to get the number of spaces we needed to space over before typing our title. I can't believe I remember that formula. I really am a Math nerd.I remember raising my hand after she explained:

Me: “Um, Mrs. Burr, can’t we just hit “Shift-F6?” That will automatically center our heading for us.”

Mrs. Burr: “No Cynthia. You need to learn to do this the right way. You won’t always have a computer to do it for you.”

I am not making up her response.

Later on in the semester she started having us type words or phrases for speed and accuracy. We were no dummies. We learned how to use the Copy and Paste function. This is where the construction paper hood came in handy. She couldn’t see us NOT typing the words under the paper hood. Instead we were just copying and pasting over and over until the timed test was up. The problem was if you copied and pasted too many times then she knew you were cheating because nobody can type 300 words per minute, let alone a 14-year old kid. Foiled! That’s when she figured out we were up to something. Down came the paper hoods so that she could spot the cheaters. Typing had changed forever for Mrs. Burr. I wonder what she does today?


Carolyn said...

It scares me that you remember the formula. You're starting to remind me of Dad with that memory of yours.

Lori Lashley said...


NO, I wasn't in your typing class and I'm glad!! Boy, Mrs. Burr would hate to see what you can do (on computers) now, eh?

I took typing in 8th grade at Townsend Jr. High. My mom bribed me $50 to take it and get an A.

I got an A+ and the highest wpm ever for the school. There was a plaque hanging in the office! No joke!

So...hem...((blushing)) WHO is the nerd?


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