Week 2, getting a handle on shit

Feb 01 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

I will freely admit that my first week of teaching was a bit of a train wreck. Overall, everything worked out, but I was a mess. I was finishing slides the morning that I was using them and just generally doing everything at the last minute. Not the best way to put together a coherent lecture and I should have been better prepared. Easy to say in hindsight.

This week I think will be much smoother. My lectures for the week are almost completely done (Tuesday's slides are already on the web for the students to download) and I really spent a lot of time on the organization of how the material is presented. Last week I depended largely on the slides from the person who previously taught the class, but learned the hard way that we don't think or lecture in a similar way. I thought I could use the old slides as a good guide for content and pace, but that doesn't turn out to be the case.

This week I rearranged everything to fit the way I think about the topic for the week, which should help tremendously. On top of that, I've added a number of things that I think will be of interest to the students and found places to stop and ask them questions so that the class is more interactive.I actually saw a glimmer of interest on Thursday when I included a story applying what we were talking about. There were even questions! And not "Um, could you go back a slide?" but questions to learn more about the topic.

I mentioned in an email to a friend on Friday how it is funny that until now the teaching aspect of the job were always something that was going to happen some day and suddenly "some day" is today, and it's true. To me, teaching was that thing I was going to be forced to do at some point in order to do the job I love. It terrified me - not in the sense that I was scared to do the teaching or thought that I couldn't in any way, but more because it was an unknown entity. How much time would it take? Would I be able to keep the students interested? Would they learn anything?

Week two and I feel like I'm getting into the swing of it a bit. I've loaded up my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays with everything related to teaching or meetings so that I have two days of hell and three weekdays that are mostly open. I think that was a really good strategy that is already working for me. Now that I have a better handle on the lectures I can get back to the stack of other things I have to deal with, without working all night and seeing my family in drive-by fashion.

5 responses so far

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    I try to load of my course work days with the other b.s. that goes on and save my other three for some crazy lab work. Using old slides is dangerous, people get crap wrong, teach in a weird order, its just bad juju man.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    These aren't "old" slides in that they are from last year. I've been working from them primarily because I was hoping to get a feel for pacing with them, but I haven't been using them blindly or without changes.

  • Ink says:

    Sounds great! And happily, the second time you teach it, it will be scads easier. Not that you'll never have to prep again but you'll have a bunch of stuff prepped already. 😀

  • Mad Hatter says:

    Hey, congrats on surviving the first week!

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Wait, you mean these slides won't last until I retire?

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