Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My new teaching assignment

This semester I'm teaching a different course than I taught last semester. I was kind of disappointed to be switched, since I was really looking forward to correcting last semester's mistakes, but on the other hand my class this semester is more ecology and less cellular.

Today I taught my first lab section and I'm really happy with how it went. All of my students talked to each other in discussion so I think I'll be able to keep them talking for the rest of the semester. In lab a screwed up a bit, first by misplacing my notes in a stack of handouts for the students (I didn't find them until after lab was over) and next by giving them the wrong instructions for the lab exercise. There were 15-20 plants, animals, and fungi on display and they were supposed to draw ALL of them. For some reason, I thought they were supposed to draw FOUR of them. In retrospect, I don't know where I came up with the number four. I wasn't entirely sure about this, but the lab instructor (who teaches the TAs how to do the labs before we do them with the students) wasn't in yet so I couldn't ask. He wasn't upset and I think it turned out ok anyways, because I emphasized to my students that drawing is important in the learning process and should show attention to detail. Some of the drawings were quite good (students had a lot of trouble with the tarantula body parts).

I have one of my students from last semester in lab again this semester, but she didn't seem very happy to see me. Maybe she didn't like me? At least 4 of my previous students are in the lab that comes in right after mine finishes, and one of them told me he's going right after class to try to switch to my section. Very flattering.

I was so much more relaxed for this first class than I was last semester! I already knew the things I wanted to emphasize with them, which questions to ask, and what to tell them about myself.

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