Meet the Teacher: Nate Cooper, Pedestrian Consulting

Meet Nate Cooper, a dedicated, passionate teacher who is committed to helping you navigate technology, grow your business and question things critically.

Nate Cooper, Pedestrian Consulting

Name: Nate Cooper

Hometown: I hail from Brooklyn

My Next Class: Website in a Box: Build a Functioning Site or Blog

You should come to my class if you: Want to save money on building a website by using free tools and technologies that are readily available. You’ll also learn about alternatives to having a web presence that require no coding knowledge whatsoever. Make technology work for you and not the other way around.

My inspiration for hosting classes is: I’m passionate about teaching. Everyone says our education system is broken but very few people are proposing solutions. I offer low-cost, in-depth training for entrepreneurs and motivated individuals because I think grassroots entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to take action.

The best class I ever attended was: Day one of my American History Class my freshman year of college (many years ago) was quite eye-opening for me. The instructor basically said “I don’t care if you don’t show up to class. This isn’t high school and I’m not taking attendance but if you don’t show up, don’t expect to pass the class. You’ll be missing vital content.” I took that lesson to heart. I wasn’t a great student in high school but from then on I became a lifelong student. Life is always teaching you little lessons and it’s up to you to decide whether to learn from them or to just stay satisfied with where you’re at.

My advice for first-time teachers is: Trust your students but also give them something of value. I think first-time teachers suffer from assuming their students are just like them, or worse, focus only on themselves as experts. If you can’t connect with students, it doesn’t matter what you say or how experienced you are. Teaching works when the teacher and the students both give with equal effort. Don’t be lazy, but also don’t let your students be lazy.

Favorite Eventbrite feature:
Wow I have to pick just one? Can’t I just say that Eventbrite is the best platform I know of for ticketing events? Ha. I love, love the multiple ticket handling and the discounts. But man, the iPhone app for checking in people is killer too. Such a time saver!

The one thing I can’t live without is: I’d like to say I’m the type of person who walks around with a notebook wherever I go but that’s just not the case. I’m pretty reliant on my phone. I’m big on setting reminders and emailing myself notes. I keep busy and I’m always thinking of the next project so it’s important to have some way to externalize that memory. If it wasn’t a phone it’d probably be a piece of paper anyway.

My worst teaching experience was: I taught a class a couple months ago that I thought was going to be about presentation software but most of the students wanted to know how to give a quality presentation. It was a combination of confused marketing and preparation both of which I was responsible for. It really made me think about upping my game as far as content. I used to teach 5 workshops a day at Apple so I know you always have ups and downs. I find the worst experiences in teaching happen when there’s a disconnect between expectations and reality. As a teacher, it’s my job to manage expectations and connect with students on an individual level. When communication breaks down, no one enjoys themselves.

The most memorable student I ever had in my class was: I can’t really play favorites. I can say that the type of student I admire most are the ones who take initiative. I usually see them several times after class or they’ll email me weeks after a class is finished to show me what they’ve done. It’s great to feel you’ve made an impact. I try to make the time to get back to students and give them feedback on what they’re doing. But I guess I also remember the negative experiences too. You have to if you want to get better. The thing I like the least is when students are having a bad time or aren’t understanding and they don’t let you know. It’s hard to improve if others don’t point out your failures.

What was the profession you imagined for yourself when you were twenty? When I was 20, I was just starting film school. I’m not sure what I imagined myself doing. I was happy to be learning about film and I remember taking all of these amazing classes in literature and philosophy. At some point I decided being a writer was the only option since if I couldn’t pick one thing to do, then at least I could write about others who did. It was right around that time that I also started thinking about teaching.

I love teaching classes because: I love being witness to learning. Having an idea is often likened to a light bulb illuminating. Sometimes, as I’ve witnessed, it’s more like a firework. I love to learn myself and seeing others make use of what I’ve learned is exciting. We live in this jumbled, complicated world. Making sense of complex systems is vital for the future. The more complex things are, the more we rely on experts and that can be dangerous. I teach because I want more critical thinkers in the world.