I’ve received some feedback that my readers like my posts on teaching and want more updates on how I’ve been progressing. Since this blog doubles as a record of experiences and things I learn, I’m more than happy to share more of my thoughts on teaching (so far).
Week two ran a lot better in my mind than week one. I felt more prepared and more excited for the lecture material, which I think translated into a better experience for my class. There were some concrete steps I took to make things better this time too:
- I practiced better self-care. I slept a little better, ate lunch before teaching, was better hydrated, in more comfortable clothes, etc.
- I had a guest speaker, which changed up the pacing a bit.
- I showed clips from YouTube to make my points, rather than using lecturing alone.
- I had a better sense of the lecture flow I wanted to achieve.
There were, of course, elements that I want to improve on, such as practicing my transitions in speech a few more times, or being ahead of the game in terms of my preparation. However, I think I am overall doing well.
I also graded my first round of assignments this past weekend. I have to be mindful of how much non-teaching time I devote to the course because I’m only, technically, paid for the 3-hours of teaching I do per week. The rest of the work is factored into my wages, but not actually paid out as hours logged. I’m not overly worried at the moment because the items I’m marking took me around 2-hours to complete Sunday morning, so it’s not a huge burden at present. It will, however, become a concern when I have to mark essays and the final exam.
Connecting with Students
I’m receiving positive feedback from students that they are enjoying the class so far. I’m hoping to gather more formal feedback in an upcoming poll/questionnaire. As a person who values real-time feedback for self-improvement, I feel waiting until the end of the term to get feedback is a missed opportunity.
I was super jazzed about my lecture content last week. I challenged the students’ conceptions concerning health and disease/disability. I wanted to open their minds to the idea that health and disease are not mutually exclusive. Disease gets cached out as a deviation from “normal,” but normal is fairly hard to pin down outside of fuzzy concepts like “statistical normality” aka, bell curves.
I opened the chain of thought by discussing how our biases of viewing the world will often distort our thinking, whether we are aware of it or not. As a fan of The West Wing, I showed the class this clip as a fun but straightforward example of how we react and value parts of our reality without consciously thinking about it.
I then moved into real world examples of how biases in our thinking affect how we interact with other people, and how it can have devastating consequences.
Then, because I thought the clip above brought the mood down a bit, I ended with a fantastic video that challenges our ideas of ability and disability.
I was pretty happy with how this section of the lecture seemed to land with the students, and I hope it had the intended effect – that our approaches to problems are often bound up in unconscious biases that can limit our thinking.
Anyway, I should get back to prepping for this week’s lecture.