Friday, July 22, 2005

25% done

well, I've survived the first week of life as a college instructor. Over the course of 8 hours of lecture time, I fell only 2 hours behind schedule. I had 2 students drop and one student add. Scores on a 5 pt multiple choice quiz at the end of the week ranged from 1 to 5 and averaged just over 3. About 1/3 of the class has come to me already with one excuse or another about why they need to arrive late/leave early or turn in an assignment late.

I've lectured a lot. Class starts at 9 and I've been arriving on campus between 7:30 and 8 to go over my notes for the morning's lecture. If I don't do that I forget what I wanted to say about the slides. But after some discouraging Q&A sessions on Tuesday, I invented a mini computer based lab for wednesday, that everyone seemed to really like, and I think they learned something.

I gave a bad lab lecture on Monday (hadn't recently read the lab) and my TA gave a great lab lecture on Wednesday. It doesn't help that Monday's lab was designed to be purposefully mysterious and Wednesday's was cookbook easy.

Having spent a full week in advance of the class preparing for it, I did manage to not have to write any lectures during the week. Now I have nothing really prepared for next week (except a few short videos), but I am moving into the topics with which I have more familiarity and there shouldn't be the hours spent trying to jam material into my head. Because I've got know more material than is in there textbook. Fortunately for me, the textbook we are using is awful, so knowing more than is in there textbook is accomplished by reading some better introductory texts.

So that's the quick and dirty on how the teaching is going. Right now it just feels like a lot of work, but S reassures me that rewards in teaching come later, in the form of good reviews, nice emails, or just students earning good grades.

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