Today I start teaching again…granted its only 5 classes but by rights I shouldn’t be teaching any. Here’s the deal. As part of my graduate education on the road to a PhD, the department has determined that I needed some formal training in pedagogy. To that end, I participated throughout last semester in a “mentored teaching experience.” This consisted of the following, me giving 5 lectures for one of my bosses classes and receiving student evaluations and her evaluations. The students were usually quite kind and more than one even said I was better than my advisor, who usually teaches the class. She had such insightful comments like

“Patrick…don’t use the green marker on the white board, sometimes its hard to see in the back of the room.”

“I noticed a typo in your powerpoint slides…try and fix those.”


Stunningly insightful there. I’m so glad I agreed to this. Anyways, the process continues wherein I’m supposed to take those comments and integrate them into my next set of lectures to show improvement. So once again, I give 5 lectures in one of my advisor’s classes. And once again, the reviews come in with the same sorts of things except this time some students were surprisingly different from one another. I received the following two comments on evaluations from two anonymous  students.


“Patrick, should work on not talking down to students when answering questions from the class.”

“Patrick showed good enthusiasm in helping students to learn when answering questions he was easy to understand and helpful.”


Ummm…what do I do with that. If I had to wager as to which one of those students was likely to be getting an “A” …I shouldn’t but you can guess. So after all that, I wrote a quick evaluation of myself which was actually similar to this post but less sarcastic and as a corollary also a bit less honest (strange how those things work out).


Now, I’m teaching again but this time its not for my education its solely to “help out” my advisor. Ummm…once again, NOT MY JOB…definitely her job. To make matters worse, the post-doc in the lab is also teaching some but she is being PAID for it. Not so for me. Can’t I say, “No”? Ummm…not exactly. You see, I need my advisor to always be on my side of things so that she will sign off on my eventual matriculation. Thus, I’m being held over a barrel for this one. To add insult to injury, the PhD student before me only taught TWO classes…TOTAL. I guess I’m either being punished for being spineless or I’m just that much in demands. But, the last guy took 7 years to finish and I’m looking at being done in 5 so I guess there might be something to it. We shall see. Patrick OUT!!!



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