Reflective Reading

After reading this article on reflection, I started to think about my experiences in the classroom last week. Honestly, it is a little hard to think critically about my teaching methods–after all, I just (co)taught my first week of classes, and be the end I was just happy I was able to get through a class without sweating through my shirt! For the first couple of classes I was sort of focused on performing well. Looking back, I realize my best classes were those in which I was relaxed, and not concerned about delivering a great performance.

I would have to say my second class with Mark Robison and my second class with Josh Sahib were the classes I feel best about. In those classes, I was completely relaxed, delivered my material well, and I actually felt like I helped some people. I wasn’t concerned with ‘not messing up’; I was more concerned with connecting with the students and hoping they were picking up on some of what I was talking about. I believe that once my nerves were out of the way, I was able to do what I was there to do.

Teaching is really an interesting experience, when new. I was so nervous last week, and I just wanted to do well in the classroom for my own sake. But as teachers, we are really there for the students–it should be that I am nervous for their experience, not mine. So there is a very interesting intersection that happens here, an intersection where we as teachers are trying to deliver for others and for ourselves. I am not sure how to resolve this, but I think if I was more concerned with what my students were learning or not learning I would be less concerned about my own success or failure as a presenter of material.

On the whole, I am mostly pleased with how my week of teaching went. After reading this article, I realize that professors I have had that were particularly great at both lecturing and classroom interaction are those that I have been trying to emulate. Though I want to branch out and try new things, it will be hard for me because I personally do not feel passionately about games in the classroom. I personally feel that whatever I am doing in the classroom needs to be geared toward the students’ assignments, coursework or life in an academic setting. I want to make it matter for them; I want to make them understand why it is important. I am not sure if I could pull off a teaching session built around games that ‘trick’ them into learning the material. That said, I think it is very important for me to realize that I favor lecture-style settings, and I need to realize that so I will always remember to interact with my classes and not go off the deep-end of lecturing students to sleep.

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