01 November 2014

Teaching midpoint

It's only been a month, but it feels like a lifetime! From the first lecture to being rather blasé. This week, I delivered the last "regular" lectures in my glaciology module, and we did the field trip (I'll blog about that separately). And the deadline for the first assignment associated with this module has passed. So now the emphasis has shifted from preparing lectures to marking. Let's see to what extent the students got what I've been telling them!

I was nervous for the first lecture. But not so much for the second. And not at all for the last few. And the lectures themselves changed too: in the beginning I basically took the lectures as they were, and just made the slides better: a title, an up-to-date picture (no scanned overheads, no grainy pictures with people in 80s outfits scampering past geologically interesting outcrops), a reference. But then I started to change the structure of the slides, as I figured they didn't always flow nicely. And then I started to take things out I didn't find relevant, and put interesting new stuff in its place. And before I knew it I was pretty much making my presentations from scratch. A lot of work, but very satisfying! But now I only have to make the recap presentation. As it is a recap, it is quite a question of copy and paste. But there are two lectures in a different module coming up. These sure will be made from scratch! But I'd best get that done before the next deadline hits me. I'll get an essay, an IPCC study and a field trip report from all my 38 glaciology students; that's already 114 pieces of work to mark! And then there is the report from the Laugharne fieldwork. That's some 26. I won't have to worry about getting bored anywhere soon! 

After christmas I'll only have three more lectures to give. I already made them, but quite a while ago; I think I'll revisit them and make them a bit more mine. It is a lot nicer to lecture from your own stuff! And then the teaching comes to an abrupt end. I might get one or a few MSc students, and will help out with another field trip, and do something in some module on general introductory science. Not sure what, but surely not something within my field of expertise. Too bad it ends! I liked it. And it seems it wasn't only me; there had been some teaching-related meeting with staff and student representatives, and several of my colleagues told me the student reps had said the students loved my lectures. That was great to hear! I might have found a good place for myself in life. It's just too bad that in order to get a lecturer's job, just being a good lecturer isn't enough...

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