Preparing the first “solo” session

Kayla and I are teaching 2 EN101 classes this Friday, together but unsupervised by those in the know. Creating a lesson plan can be challenging – creating a lesson plan WITH someone can bring out some of my worst control-freak tendencies. I’m working on it (and a shoutout to Kayla for being the perfect partner – laid back in all of the ways I am not). I am excited to get started and to be responsible for something more than a small blob of the greater scheme. 101 is very different from 102 and, in my opinion, more easily lends itself to fun lesson plans. I’m looking forward to seeing how we are received.

The biggest stand out moment from this week was in the 102 class I observed yesterday. Sara probably mentioned the same thing (watching tutorials before the next session) 6 times in rapid succession, and even made it clear that it was important by saying students should make a note of it, but her voice fell on some deaf ears. I overheard the guy behind me asking his classmate what she had said as he packed up to leave. I watched another guy checking his phone every minute or so (literally every minute or so, I timed him for a while), despite that portion of the class being interactive. I think student (in)attention just really needs to be taken in stride. Many students were actively participating and seemed to be enjoying the discussion, and I think Sara’s plan of attack in pulling students in to the discussion was spot-on, but there were some who refused to participate. No worries – you have to force some level of participation but you don’t have to focus on those who refuse to involve themselves.

As for other revelations this week – my demonstration of narrowing a topic was miserable. The feedback I got was identical to the feedback I have received and given to myself my entire life – proceed with more confidence, commit more fully, and don’t appear disinterested in what I am doing. I’ve been thinking about influential it is for an instructor to appear ambivalent, how that not only establishes classroom tone but in large part determines how important students think the information is. The last impression I’d like to leave students with is that of the library as unimportant. I think my biggest challenge will be in conveying my enthusiasm for library science and the pleasure of a search well done.

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