I'll teach you a lesson

So I’ve been teaching a class for the past week or so and let me tell you…it’s a lot of work. I suppose that a good portion of the work comes from the fact that I’m teaching a class that I’ve never taught in the past which means that my material is created de novo. I wouldn’t characterize it as particularly difficult just time consuming. Also, I don’t want this admission of difficulty to take anything away from my previous statements about that status of education in this country. I still believe that home schooling should be allowed and that public school systems have become largely a breeding ground for mediocrity that slowly but surely weed out the most promising young teachers. In the interest of fair play, I also think that the college level teaching could use an overhaul as well…of course I just talked about that issue. Regardless, trying to convey a message to a group of individuals with such a diverse variety of backgrounds as is found in a classroom is no small challenge. Of course in the end, the difficulty in teaching is proportional to how much you care about the results. While this is true of many professions, in teaching it is pretty easy to skate by and not give a damn about any of it and few people will notice (except your students). I do take some pride in my abilities here and in the effort I put forward in that endeavor. I think I’m a much better instructor in the laboratory than in the classroom and would much prefer that particular arena to the classroom I find myself in now. To make matters worse, my mentor (see my last post for commentary there) has decreed that I shall not use powerpoint whilst performing my professorial duties. Her reason…none. Ok, so I do what I’m told…because I’m spineless like that. It sucks, I could cover so much more and in so much more depth if I wasn’t constantly writing on the board and dealing with overhead slides. I would guess that the lack of powerpoint cuts my classroom productivity by close to 30%. Luckily, after this term I can use powerpoint to my heart’s content. Its just the perfect tool for this sort of thing. In my class last semester I had multimedia (photos, videos, animations) everything was on the slide that they needed to know and at the end of the day I could upload the slide which the students could download. The end result is a focus on paying attention to what I’m saying and on their own comprehension and not with scribbling notes in a book which they might never use. Technology is meant to be used…not ignored. Only two more classes…Patrick OUT!!!

What I’m listening too: Alison Krauss and Union Station

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