TECHEAD is known for offering great training in a wide array of creative technology applications, including Adobe® Creative Suite and Dreamweaver as well as HTML5, CSS, and mobile app development.
Sean Cooke, our Adobe Creative Suite Design Master and Lead Instructor who is also leading our new iBooks Author and iPad training development, shared his “how I got here” story with me the other day. It resonates for any of us who have worked to learn something, and then discovered that we knew it well enough to teach it ourselves!
My first question: how did you discover you were a teacher?
I was in college, and one day I asked a buddy how he did something in his project, and he began to spout off the techniques he used and they sounded eerily familiar. When I asked where he learned all that, he said his from his professor who was teaching the night course for computer graphics 1. When I heard that teacher’s name, I connected the dots and found out that night course professor was the daytime dummy in my computer graphics class who had been pestering me with questions all year – the techniques my buddy had learned came verbatim from me! I figured then that I knew enough to do the job, which eventually led me to a gig at a design company as an art director. One day when placing an ad in the a local newspaper, the paper’s receptionist answered the phone “(Blank) Newspaper and (Blank) Adobe Training”. That would be the point when I figured I could make a living at something I love and enjoy.
What’s your training philosophy?
Students are just like you and me – we hate anything that’s boring. Whether it’s a meeting, a TV show or a training session, everyone benefits from an enjoyable experience. I make sure the class is fun, engaging, relevant and informative… Some days in exactly that order.
What fires you up the most about teaching?
Students that have questions and problems related to the material I’m teaching. Those that know all need not apply.
What makes you want to run screaming from the (training) room?
Me. I am the worst student. Which is why I teach. I doodle, I snicker at juvenile jokes, I talk over the teacher and generally do not pay attention. I once taught a custom one-on-one class in Adobe Acrobat. This class in reality has no eye candy, like Photoshop does, but in my successful print career I made a lot of tough jobs easy with this application. It saved me time and gave me the ability to make more money – win! So, as a nerd, I am always very excited about this app. In this custom, just-the-two-of-us class the student was not excited at all. I asked “what would like to be able to do before we leave class today?” Right at the beginning of the day, 9am, he answered, “make a PDF from Word.” After a long pause I said, “file… Save as PDF. I guess we’re done.” That was a very long day. He could not care less about any other features in Acrobat – there are LOTS of features – and was just letting me monologue until the day was done. I could have talked about my dog for 6 hours versus Acrobat, he wouldn’t have cared. Not a great day for me.
What emerging technologies do you see having the greatest impact on your work as a teacher?
I am SO excited about Apple iBooks Author. This software seems to be the bleeding edge of what digital media will become. I am utterly delighted that we get to be in at the beginning of a digital frontier.
What would you like to add to the TH training calendar?
As an Adobe Design Master, Sean Cooke carries the most Adobe instructor certifications in Virginia; he also ranks in the Top 20 most-certified instructors nationwide and has held the rank of #3 Adobe Instructor worldwide. Sean is an Adobe Certified Instructor in Adobe Acrobat 9, Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5, Adobe Illustrator CS5, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Adobe InDesign CS5, with in-depth knowledge of Adobe InCopy CS5, Adobe Flash CS5, and Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.
He has worked in all aspects of printing, from commercial offset and screen printing to wide-format digital and vinyl cutting. His additional years of pre-press and design background add to the class experience. Outside the classroom, Sean is the manager of the Richmond Adobe User Group (RAUG).