Last one

Apr 27 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

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.

9 responses so far

  • Ink says:

    Congrats! Sounds like you did a fabulous job, PLS. (And it WILL indeed get easier from here on out since you have those materials ready.) Time to dance!

  • Anonymous says:

    YAY! It's not over until you hit the big button to submit the grades, and then, still, dammit, it's not over because you will probably have some stus press you on crap, want a better grade, blah blah blah whaaaa. Hold on to all your paperwork, you WILL need it. Ask the stus for GENUINE FEEDBACK on your teaching. Tell them you will re-work your lectures and labs based on their comments. jc

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    Congrats and now you have your own material to build off of. And on top of all of this I am seriously impressed with the number of grant submissions and manuscript writing. Way to kick ass.

  • Anonymous says:

    Can't you just get them to turn their phones off?I'm always lecturing to MDs so I really can't ask them to turn their phones off. I always thought one of the nice things about undergrad teaching might be avoiding the constant interruptions?-antipodean

  • Anonymous says:

    I am so happy for you! I also envy you because I still have 2 weeks to go 🙁

  • Anonymous says:

    Three weeks to go here :C

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Antipodean, I'm going to start confiscating phones used in class next year, but I just didn't have the energy to deal with it this year after repeatedly calling them out in class, ony to get a shrug in response. I made it very clear it the beginning that it was not acceptable, but it fell of deaf ears. Maybe next year I will text the class policy to all of them. Anons, Oh Noes! Hang in there, it's a great feeling when it's over.

  • Professor in Training says:

    Dude, you did way more stuff than I did and I'm frazzled enough as it is! Nobody expects you to be a perfect teacher the first time around with a new course. Four more days. Four more days. Four more days. Four more days. FOUR MORE DAYS!!

  • […] last time I did a new class prep, it was horrible. That was the hardest semester I've had in this job, for a variety of reasons, but class creation […]

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