Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Teaching... not so fun

I haven't even taught my labs yet this semester and already I'm not enjoying it. The lab I'm teaching is one I've never taught before. Not a big problem however this particular course has a lab that is like a lecture and a lab in one. Most labs I teach have more lab work than lecturing but this lab is the opposite. I don't quite get it. I feel sorry for the students too because even though the stuff I cover in the lab is a repetition or clarification of what was taught in the lecture it just seems like they are expected to learn a whole heck of a lot for an introductory course. Plus, attention span of a second year undergrad is what... like 5 minutes? And I'm to expect them to remain conscious for a whole three hours!?! Good luck.

The lab coordinator for this lab also wants us to have discussions with the students. That I don't mind because hopefully it will perk the students up but for the first few labs it's like pulling teeth. Of course the first lab is on mitosis. Good luck getting a discussion going on that. Even I have a hard time wrapping my head around all that goes on during mitosis let alone getting students, who are usually completely confused about mitosis, involved in a discussion on it.

Speaking of discussions, at the meeting last week for this lab I'm teaching the lab coordinator had a discussion on how foreign TAs can better communicate with their students since most of them have accents and usually students put a wall up as soon as they realize their TAs first language isn't English. Fine, a discussion is fine. However it went on for like a half an hour with nothing really coming out of it. Plus, the lab coordinator kept calling them "non-English speaking TAs". What?!? They can speak English it's just that it isn't their first language. I was getting so annoyed with his "non-English speaking" usage that I was so close to saying, "I think the problem with communication is that according to you they can't speak English".

I guess I should get back to preparing for my lab bright and early tomorrow morning. Ugh.

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