I'm in teaching purgatory for the next few weeks. Essentially a good 60-70% of my time right now is devoted to teaching and I get to squeeze the 100% I was previously doing into the 30-40% that is left over. Despite my added teaching responsibilities this semester, things are actually going pretty well. I'm finding that the blood sweat and tears I put into my slides last year has helped me tremendously this year. I'm not killing myself over each lecture and I have been able to adapt the concepts from my primary class to the second class I am helping to teach for the first 4 weeks. Other than the constant emails, I feel pretty good about how things are going.
As a general rule, I post all of my sides after each lecture rather than before. I do this for a few reasons (not the least of which is that the slides may not be "done" until minutes before some lectures), but the primary one is that I want the students to be taking their own notes down. Providing the slides before the class can result in a tendency to take fewer notes and scribble down thoughts that might not mean much to the student when they go to study.
This slide policy has been a tepid* topic in my class. The student argument (which I have received both via email and delivered in person) is that they have more ability to listen to what I am saying if they can take notes on the slides and not have to write everything down. While I can understand that, I am also aware that what students see as making their lives easier is not always what helps them learn. In fact, it is often counter to that goal. For similar reasons, I don't do study guides (read: this is all that will be on the test, forget anything else) and when I do a review session, I make them come with questions that are more direct than "Can you go over class 4?"
This gets us back to what I find to be the hardest part of teaching: the balance between keeping the students happy and maintaining a strong curriculum. As a junior faculty member, I do have to play this game because teaching evaluations do matter for me. Whereas they are not going to make or break my tenure package, teaching is a component that has some weight here. If the student perception is that I don't give a shit or I am making their lives unnecessarily difficult, I will hear about it sooner or later.
My strategy thus far has been to explain my thinking behind the way I do things to the students. My hope is that even if they don't agree with it, providing a thought out reason will at least convince them that I'm not just being a jerk because I can.
I would be curious to hear what other people do in these situations - with slides or anything else.
*I can't really call it a hot topic, but I have heard from a few students.