Wednesday, September 06, 2006

TA (Teaching Anxiety)

Last Sunday, which coincidentally was my birthday, was the day before I started teaching the first two lab sections of an Electrical Engineering class. I am not an electrical engineer by training, but my research has pulled me into this kind of stuff early on.

Throughout the day, I felt anxious more than ever even though that was going to be my fourth time teaching the same materials over these five years. I know I am pretty experienced, on the other hand, there is a self-imposed pressure to make this year's an ever better practice.

As I noted, the pressure was there but not the drive. I spent the whole day to not even close to prepare the basic methodology, to ponder on what I am going to say to the students or to anticipate their questions.

Finally at eight that Monday morning, I started working on my little handout (rules, contact information, office hours, etc.) for the students. One section of the lab was at 11:30 AM, another section was at 3 PM, the last one will be on Tuesday morning.

While preparing the handout, I got on my mood and it all came back to me. It was going up hill from there.

That first lab was very short. We began with general introduction and safety rules before got on the gist of the lab. The kids were nice. I have enough confidence that I can handle them.

I spent the time between sections making little roster of their e-mails, grading their pre-lab work, and organizing my lab folder with the manual, fabrication charts and notes.

Hmm, this teaching gig is getting interesting by the minute. Should I consider going into academia for my little plan in the not so distant future? It feels like I could enjoy teaching. But working on a tenure position is probably not going to be that fun. Besides, I really need to go into the real world. So probably the answer is still a no.

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