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The Septic Slip-up


Francisco Martinez - Crazy Dogs... Playing?

Early in my career, I was teaching an “Intro to Microsoft Project” class for a large corporate client in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had been there to teach classes for them a number of times previously. During my welcome and introduction, I intended to say, “It’s good to be back in the Twin Cities again.” But somehow, instead I said, “It’s good to be back in Minneapolis again.” You wouldn’t think that would be a big deal, right? WRONG!

When I asked my students to introduce themselves, one woman in the class told me her name and then she said, “I was born in St. Paul. I went to elementary school, junior high, and high school in St. Paul. I went to the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. And you, sir, are standing in St. Paul, NOT Minneapolis!” Her last sentence was delivered while yelling at me. The rest of the students said, “Dude, you’re busted!”

At the first break, I attempted to apologize to her, but she walked past me without making eye contact or speaking with me. During class, she basically did not participate in anything we did. On her post-class evaluation form, graded on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is horrible and 10 is great), she gave me a 0 score on every item!
Photo courtesy of Francisco Martinez

Written by Dale Howard

Dale Howard is the Director of Education for Sensei Project Solutions.  He is in his 15th year of serving as a Microsoft Project MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and is currently one of only 39 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world. Dale is the co-author of 21 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He works out of his home in Ellisville, Missouri (a west suburb of St. Louis).

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  1. And I am sure that she was one of those students that you just can’t teach anything to because they know it all, already. Having attended a couple of your sessions, she’s definitely an outlier.

  2. Surely Minneapolis can’t be that bad!

  3. Poor woman. She wasted her time. She wasted your time. She wasted paper for the survey. But being that rude. Not acceptable.

  4. Minnesota, Minneapolis…it all sounds like “up north” to me. Well thanks for all your tips and the story. (from the friendly South).

  5. How sad to so adamantly defend something that has left her with such negative self esteem.

  6. I think the woman wasted time and money. In the end she is the loser.

  7. Some people need to just get a grip!!. Recently I taught a class where I opened MSP 2010 instead of MSP 2013. A man in the class was all over me for doing this. I apologized but to him it was an offense I would not recover from.

    Many years ago when I was teaching customer education for Unisys there was a class that had enough of listening to me on the 4th day. They talked me into going out to lunch with them and put me in one of their cars. 4 hours and many drinks later I arrived back at the office. In some cases kidnapping the instructor might be the only solution.


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