The last week and half has been in many ways for me a marathon of instruction. Last week on Wednesday I had my first solo teaching experience and while it went okay, I realized that I had some kinks to work out in my approach for teaching. I had expected some issues but being nervous was not one of them. I felt that I had gotten pretty comfortable being in front of the class but as soon as they entered into the room the nerves began. I had to remind myself that this was not a class of piranhas but a class of EN 102 students. They were not going to attack me! This thought helped and I quickly tried to gather my thoughts back in order. Besides the internal nervousness, I was also dealing with another issue that I had never taken into account. For my first solo class, it took place upstairs in the testing lab and that was a whole other set of problems. All of my classes up to that point had been in the instruction room on the first floor which is an open layout. The testing lab on the second floor has partitions around each desk. This made it hard for me to see the students and vice versa. It also made it hard for the class to see the powerpoint that I had prepared. These were considerations that I did not account for in my preparation. The class overall went well however and I gained some valuable experience in the process.
This week has truly been the marthon for me! I have prepped, taught, or helped to teach three different classes this week. My first class on Monday was a Session 2 and I feel like it went really well. I had a lot of anxiety for this class and it stemmed from my first solo teaching which was also a Session 2. As I did my planning though I kept in mind the issues that I had as I created my lesson plan. The first thing that I did is I created a much more detailed lesson plan for my second solo session than the first. With the first I kept the lesson plan kind of open like I had with my Session 1 classes but I realized that while that worked for Session 1 it could be hindering for Session 2 which is much more discussion based. Having a detailed lesson plan made all the difference for me in my second solo session. I did not strictly follow my lesson plan verbatum in the class but when and if I got lost in the discussion my lession plan was there to help guide me back. Having that type of lession plan helped to put my mind at ease!
My next session was on Wednesday with Melissa and in this one I focused primarily on giving one on one help to students. I helped one student in particular to nail down an idea for her topic as well as how to find the sources she would need. The encounter lasted about 20 minutes and once she had left I realized that I had just had a full blown reference encounter which amazed me. It was one of those things that I had learned about in my reference class and conducted in bits in pieces at my jobs within the library system but this was the first time that I had had a complete reference encounter from start to finish. It was one of the most refreshing moments in my academic career and reaffirmed to me that I had chosen the right career for me.
My third session is actually today! I have just completed the first of two 20 minute web evaluation sessions for an EN 101. I have to say that this session so far has gone the best! This was me completely by myself in the classroom and it was exciting. I loved how the class responded and got into the discussion. The experience that I have gained from all my previous sessions I feel like have culminated in this one session and also reaffirmed that I do love teaching! I will report in another blog how part 2 goes! Wish me luck!!