Reaching the halfway point

At the conclusion of tonight's SPARC Technician License course, we will have reached the halfway point.  Four sessions down with four to go and then the exams on the night of November 18th.  There is soooo much to cover and so many questions to answer.  Each session is supposed to end at 9:00 PM but except for one, they have all gone over.

In between classes, our students are supposedly doing their reading and we advised them to really begin with the online tests, if they haven't already.  They know enough by now, that they should be able to at least get a 50%. I have also been e-mailing video links to them, giving them You Tube videos to watch that hopefully might augment the material we covered in class the previous week.

All this makes me wonder how useful are those HamCram classes that you read about.  I've been a VE at a couple and they seem successful enough.  I am told that the way it is supposed to work is that the students study the license manual and do all the reading on their own for 8 weeks prior to the cram session. Then the all day (or two day) cram session winds up being a "super review" session where the material is gone over, reinforced, and any questions or unclear concepts are made crystal.

I'm not sure that would have worked for me back in the day when I became a Novice. I liked the fact that there was a licensed Ham that I could go to each week to have as a resource to answer the questions I had  - and there were plenty. Plus the fact we had to learn Morse, we needed that weekly encouragement with that, also.

Even though our students are sharp, they still have questions. We clear them up the best we can, so they can move on to the next batch of material without unsettled concepts lurking around in the back of their minds. I'd hate to think of how I'd spend a day (or two) answering 8 weeks worth of unanswered questions!

I suppose if you're a real disciplined, self-starter type that doesn't need the occasional nudge, then a HamCram might work well for you.  I am happy with our format, though. I like the idea of getting to know our students over the 8 week period and helping them feel like they're being welcomed into the Amateur Radio community.  I am hoping that these students will become way more than that, that they will become my friends who I will get to know even better, and share laughs and Amateur Radio adventures with in the years to come.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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