Reflections on Last Week

Last week I co-taught a class with Mark and solo-taught three classes. It was my second big week of teaching, and it certainly brought out all of my anxiety. It was actually kind of interesting because last Tuesday I was expecting to co-teach a class and solo-teach a class with Mark Robison, but our classes did not show up and instead another instructor showed up with a class to the same classroom without a librarian to instruct them. Mark and I waited to be sure that our class was not going to make it, and then we started teaching this class that had shown up without an instruction librarian. Our topic wasn’t exactly built for their class, but the principles were the same. It was a valuable lesson in how you sometimes have to improvise when you are an instructor.

On Thursday I solo-taught for the first time. It was an extremely stressful situation, one I was entirely unfamiliar with. It took a lot of coaching and reassuring words from Sarah Whitver and Brett Spencer to calm me down, and I then taught the class with surprising success. I thought the session went fairly well, and I was composed throughout. It helped that the teacher for this class, Erica Meyers, has a great report with her students and knows how to keep them in line.

On Friday, I experienced mixed results with the two sessions I taught. While I again felt composed in front of the classes, I also felt I needed to get through my material a little more quickly, as we only had 50 minutes to work with. Unfortunately I ended up rushing things a bit too much, leaving far too much time at the end of the classes for individual searching. This usually isn’t so bad, as I get a chance to help students one-on-one with their search processes (and I was still able to do that during these sessions). The problem was that it was Friday, so the students were naturally distracted, and they had already been assigned to find sources for their class, so some students felt they no longer needed to be there. Furthermore, their regular instructor was not there either, and they were instead brought in by a TA. These factors all led to some students feeling like it was ok for them to leave early, and being very new to instruction, I wasn’t sure what to say to these students. After all, it was my fault for finishing the instruction portion so early.

All-in-all, I am happy that last week happened and that it is over. It was a stressful time, but it also taught me a lot about myself and about instruction. Hopefully when i instruct my final two classes in April, I will feel even more comfortable in front of a classroom.

One thought on “Reflections on Last Week

  1. I think you did a great job with your instruction last week, Robert. I’ve been thinking about your concerns about your timing. I want you to try something when you get the chance– plan the individual search time in the middle of your class, and some sort of instruction content to pull the class back into focus at the end. Maybe this will help you feel a little more structured. It’s worth a try!

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