Friday, October 21, 2011

Typing Skills

My Dad was ahead of his day. As school superintendent of the Lago School in Aruba, he insisted that every student learn to type. Mind you, this was back in the day when typewriters looked sort of like the one below. This was also the time when young men launched into careers that had little to do with typing skills whereas women, be the teachers, clerical staff, or housewives benefited from knowing how to type without looking at the keys.

My brother learned to type in high school in Aruba and when he went away to college he was a hot ticket amongst his peers who asked him to type up their papers and reports for class. He earned money by the page. He's still a pretty good typist, probably far better than other men his age.

Hands down, typing was the best skill I mastered in school from the perspective of continuous utilization.  Knowing how to type fast and with accuracy paid off. Countless hours saved. Time is money. More time makes way for more rest.

These days we think nothing of younger folks pecking away at their computer keyboards. I'm not sure how people learn to type these days; probably either  entirely self taught or with a typing tutor on line. The learning starts earlier and earlier; I'd predict many begin as grade school students if not before. In Aruba, back in the late 1960's we learned the 'old school' way where the keys were covered over with heavy duty tape.  We learned to touch type as opposed to the "search and peck" style I see some contemporaries of mine utilize.

Although typing wasn't a necessary skill in Medicine until the early 1990's when email hit the scene, everyone in the field depends on the skill nowadays. The electronic medical record, a prime example of how medical documentation changed in the past ten years makes my point. We type constantly; clinic notes, communications, emails, and other updates fill the gaps between seeing patients. Many of us bring work home in the evening; although this may involve dictation, typing is more common.

Typewriters are a thing of the past except in the lives of  'eccentrics' or the technically challenged. Who among us is not a slave to the keyboard?

I'm grateful that my Dad, who at one time practiced his skills at the typewriter, who encouraged all of his students to get into that typing class. Now.

This post is also published today at Back in the Day.

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