Today is my last lecture. Better yet, it's a short lecture because I have to pass around the class evaluation. It's been a long semester and I'm really happy this class is over... at least I'll be really happy when I catch up on all the sleep I need. I have, however, managed to submit four grants this semester, generated some good data and get my MSc student in a position to graduate this summer while recruiting another student to start in September. I've planned and booked four summer trips, served on two defense committees and three comprehensive exams, written a manuscript and revised two others, given two invited seminars and run our departmental seminar series. Oh, and co-convened a local conference for over 100 people.
This was the craziest semester I've endured, but the teaching was the hardest part for me and the one area where I felt I could never get ahead. Preparing two 1h15m lectures from scratch a week, sometimes on subjects that were a bit of a reach for me, was feeding a hungry beast that was never satisfied. Every time I got one lecture done I had to either give that one or start on the next. There were far too many slides put together between 11pm and 1am, only to be revised when I got up at 5:30am. When all is said and done however, I think it can be broken into a few categories.
What went well: Overall, I think I got across what I wanted to and kept the students interested to a decent degree. I made up some new labs, which worked but need some tweaking for the future. I managed to find my groove for lecturing and now that I have a course worth of slides to work from, I think the next time I offer the class will be much better.
What went less well: I thought I was going to be able to coast by using the materials given to me by the prof who formerly taught the course, but that was a giant fail. There was just no way I could lecture the same way they did and I had to throw everything out and start anew. I also realized how much the labs needs modification and there are a few things that need to be better organized to make the concepts more clear to the students.
What we will never speak of again: The few lectures in the beginning when I tried to force myself into teaching from the other persons slides. The second test that the students bombed to an epic degree. The in class texting, which I gave up on dealing with halfway through the semester.
Obviously, this experience means I will do a number of things differently next year. Hardly surprising. I'm glad I got through it, but most of all I am ready for the summer.