Thursday, January 11, 2007

Comments on the first week of the semester

I've been settling into my new schedule and I can tell you that I am really enjoying teaching three days a week instead of five this semester. I'm staying at home T/Th to work on research- in fact I am trying to completely ban working on teaching on T/Th. I am taking an extended lunch break right now and listening to yesterday's Al Franken show (the podcasts are so nice, because they have SO many ads on Air America).

Monday I taught both classes- I handed out syllabi and did some overview-type things in class. The students seem fine so far. In my 100-level class I think I covered all the pet-peeve issues like that I can hear them talking- even in the back of the room, that I HATE when they pack-up before class is over (they started doing that 7 minutes before class ended on Monday- how dare I keep them the WHOLE time on the first day!), that they should never call me MRS. N., and that they need to do the reading BEFORE class. There seems to be one very sarcastic guy who likes to answer questions that I pose with a loud sarcastic response- we'll see if I have to say something or not. In my upper-level/grad class I had two people who didn't show up on Monday- including one grad student who I am supposed to be advising(?) What the hell is up with that? And the course is directly related to what he will supposedly by doing for his research.

Tuesday I never left the house- except to go to the bus stop to drop off/pick up D. I finally made those revisions on the solo paper! They weren't too tough, but I wanted to be thorough to be sure that the final acceptance comes through.

Wednesday I taught both classes 'for real' including some new approaches to my 100-level course. I am trying to do less lecturing and make the class more interactive. I am going to be relying on them doing the reading and then asking them lots of questions to keep the class moving along. I think it well yesterday, but I have to wonder if they will complain because it isn't so structured with the text on powerpoint slides, etc. I am providing them 'study guides' for each book chapter (which I am following closely) so that they know what to focus on. I'll probably do a midterm evaluation to get feedback and see how they like it.

Today I wrote up my response to the reviewer comments this morning, then took a walk on the treadmill before lunch. This afternoon I need to write the cover letter and make sure things are in order to send off the final version (hooray!) I may break my non-teaching rule, too, because I need streamline things for tomorrow and figure what they can do during class (I am trying to include 5-10 minute small group activities most days to keep it interesting). BUT- the letter comes first- I can always finalize the teaching stuff tonight.

Tomorrow I only have one class because I am not having labs this week and then I don't teach until Wednesday! I need to work on my annual report, so I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend. Lovely. I'll try to keep up with the blogging better, too! I've been distracted with online shopping lately, so I my blog has suffered a bit.

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