Happy timing, really, that I should have a totally respectable, academic post following up on such a fluffy one. On that topic, I can only say this – I’m every woman. It’s all in me.
Right. I was trying to be academic.
So today I taught my last class of the quarter; a few years ago I had the opportunity to put together the class template for a research skills course, offered early in a graduate program for returning adult students, and I’ve been teaching it periodically ever since. It’s been an interesting experience, not only because I’d never taught any credit-bearing course before, but also because starting off in a graduate program with returning adults, most of them are older than me, so it was hard to find my feet and my place of balancing my qualifications regarding the material with the actual situation I found myself in – more or less, instructing my parents. A little odd for me.
The program I work with is organized into cohorts, and they move through their studies together. So it’s interesting to see the series of microcosms that creates, and how one interacts with each differently, and how also the particular circumstances of my life affect my relations with each. In Spring I taught a section of this course; it was a very small cohort (6) which puts a lot more burden on the instructor, in my opinion (not many voices in discussion, that’s for sure). Also I had just finished, literally days before, my second masters, an endeavor that resulted in five years spent as a part time student. Needless to say, it was a bit more challenging than some quarters have been. I probably should have waited; I was so tired, so burnt with school.
Given that, I was a bit hesitant coming into this quarter; but this group (11; well, 10 really, one person just disappeared) was so dynamic and energetic and engaged that it truly was a pleasure to teach. Just in time too, because I feel like I’m going through some kind of instructional drought … it happens, right? Anything you do for a long time, you go through periods where it’s AWESOME, YEAH! and then for a while it’s like pulling teeth. I won’t lie. Sometimes, library instruction with freshmen – just send me to the dentist. She’s so nice, and she has painkillers. And she never falls asleep or sasses me. So it’s nice to work with graduate students who are always more engaged; and it’s interesting to be the instructor of record, assigning those grades, it really focuses everyone’s attention.
Working with grown-ups keeps me on my game, too, I think, in terms of how I present the information. Having just finished a graduate degree, my memories of sitting out there are fresh, especially the ones relating to disorganization, excessive lecturing, filler, etc etc.
Turns out this isn’t so academic after all, but it is about graduate studies, so there’s that.
I’m glad it seems like it went well, both for me and for them. And I’ll be interested to see their papers; and I’ll be thrilled to have graded them all and submitted the grades and be done for a while.