First Solo Teaching Session

At first I was a bit worried about the fact that I had to do two long back-to-back sessions, but I figured that however my first session went, that experience would help me in my second session. And that was basically how it went. I wasn’t that pleased with my first session. I went too quickly, forgot some key points, and couldn’t seem to get them involved in any sort of discussion. That’s on me to some extent; I think I kind of expect them to be non-responsive, so I ask a question, wait for a few seconds, and then answer the question myself. Sara’s pretty good at persuading them to be involved – I’m not, at this point. There was also a computer issue at the end of my lecture that didn’t really help things.

Time was an issue for me in the first session (it was a one hour and fifteen minute session and I wanted to go for at least fifty minutes but only went around forty minutes), and I had similar problems with the second session (it went almost fifty minutes, better but not exactly what I was looking for). Beyond that, I think the second session went a lot better. I would still do some things differently if I had the chance, but it definitely was better. I feel like I started the second session off much better than I did the first. I was moving around, wasn’t stuck to the podium, asking more questions (even getting a few responses), and even though the first session didn’t go that well, just the fact that I had done it made the second one easier.

I was a bit bothered by how quick I was moving through each part of the session. Like I said, the start of the second class seemed much better to me; I was more relaxed, there was more of a conversation, and yet when I went back to the podium I noticed that we had only talked for like five minutes, when it had seemed much longer. Just looking at the clock at that point threw me off a bit for a few minutes as I moved into the keyword section of the lecture. Keywords and mind-mapping to me was the most problematic of both of my classes. I don’t feel like I explain that well, except for the part where I show how “asking a question” works on Google but doesn’t work on scout. Also, the keyword game didn’t work either time, and that’s probably on me to some extent as I probably didn’t make it competitive enough; it definitely worked for Louise.

I did think my Boolean part worked, especially the second time. I didn’t use a game, but just showed them how to use it in Google (which they’re more familiar with), and I think it worked reasonably well the first time and really well the second time (there was even a little discussion about it). Scout training was about the same both times. It was ok, I went over it, hit the high points, and asked if they understood, and while they were fairly unresponsive, my impression (especially when I helped them in their individual searches) was that they did. The only thing I think I really forgot the first time was to show them how to limit a search to newspapers and magazine articles, but I didn’t forget that the second time.

Then we went to the part where they search on their own, and even though I wasn’t very good the first session, and they weren’t very responsive, the help time with the first session was actually better than the second session. They seemed more motivated to find their sources and really seemed to want my help. When I co-taught with Nancy and Sara I’d just wander around and ask people if they needed help and ended up not helping many of them. This time instead of asking them if they needed help, I asked them what their questions were (it was helpful that the professor had them come in with a topic) and went on to help them. The first session I had conversations with pretty much everyone about what their topic was and how to search for it. The second session wasn’t bad in that sense; I was able to help almost everyone, but there were a few students who just weren’t interested.

One thought on “First Solo Teaching Session

  1. You did a really great job both times, Alex. I’m really glad that we went ahead and scheduled back to back sessions for you, because I think it’s a good way to learn. The observations you made about the first session were great, and you were able to immediately implement them in the second session. Excellent work, and thanks for sharing this with us!

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