Teaching is Terrific!

I’ve just started being a teaching assistant again this term, and I have to say– Teaching always puts a smile on my face. I’m sometimes surprised by this fact, because the conception of teaching in my head is slightly dull. When I think of teaching, I’m not excited. But when I am teaching, that’s a whole other story.
I’m TAing for MCDB131L, or in english, the General Microbiology Laboratory course. This means I’m teaching mostly juniors and seniors in college how to plate cells, select bacterial strains, stain bacteria, and other sorts of single-celled goodness. This, mind, isn’t my strong suit in many ways… I hate using optical microscopes (damn you, oil immersion lenses!), and I never finished my MCDB major. But I’m having a lot of fun with it.

So, comment and share:
How do you feel about teaching?
Is there anything you find boring to think about, but exciting when you’re doing it?
What are you doing these next few months?

5 Responses to “Teaching is Terrific!”

This semester I’m TAing for the first time, for CU’s Intro MCDB class. For most of the people it’s one of their first college science classes, and for just about everyone it’s the first bio class. It’s really cool to realize that I’m giving these people the foundational knowledge for this type of biology. For the most part I’m enjoying it so far. It was definitly a little weird the first day of lab when I was up in front of the class for the first time, but I’m definitly feeling more comfortable with it now. As for the bad, after this last weekend with 8 hours spent grading the first exam, I have to say grading is probably the least enjoyable part. Especially when I get the “what the heck these people were thinking when they wrote that” kind of answers.

mcmillan - September 27th, 2005 at 9:36 am

I’m TAing PHYS 1110 this semester, physics for scientists and engineers. I think it would be a lot of fun, except for the fact that no one wants to be there. Of my 126 students, there are only a handful, I’m talking 15-20 physics majors, and everyone else is just trying to pass. Leads to an interesting recitation atmosphere. I’ve got everyone from the people who’ve never taken high school physics to the blue haired Know-It-All who took high school AP physics and thinks its ridiculous that he has to take this class. Trying to cater to them all is rough at times.

I’ve taught labs before, and I have to say, that was way more fun. I liked the individual one on one attention I could give them there.

Eszter - September 28th, 2005 at 5:59 am

I love that you say “When I think of teaching, I’m not excited. But when I am teaching, that’s a whole other story.” — You’re such a social creature, Andrew! Thinking about teaching can become interesting after awhile, when you’re trying to solve ‘teaching problems’ you’ve encountered so that things will go better next time (that can become a very absorbing thought process!), but in general I imagine you’ll always enjoy the social aspects of interacting with people who want to learn something that you can actually help them with. Good luck!

meg - September 27th, 2005 at 6:47 pm

Is PHYS 1110 the first one in the series? Or is it the evil one about scientific notation and propagation of error. If the former, they’re nuts! That class rocked! If the latter… *twitch, twitch* I hated that class…

To answer your question, PD, I feel the same way about playing the banjo. The thought of sitting down and practicing is such a drag, but when I’m actually playing (and I use that verb loosely), I don’t want to put it down!

Mallorn - September 30th, 2005 at 6:08 am

I have to agree about thinking about teaching is boring. I have to take a whole seminar on it. But when I’m actually teaching I find the time flying by. The students who are actually interested are the best to teach. As I’m teaching physics for nonmajors not many are interested in going on in the subject. Yet several students truly want to understand which brings some excitement to class. If only every student could be interested in the courses they’re taking?

Khirsath - September 30th, 2005 at 12:37 pm

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