Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Midterms -- from the Teacher Perspective

UPDATE: Student conferences going better than I had expected. Maybe I can do this.

So here I sit, midway through the first course I’m teaching at BYU-I.

One of the original reasons for taking this gig and getting excited when I finally got the call to teach was to see if I actually enjoyed teaching and could stomach to do it through earning a doctorate and perhaps beyond.

Color me mixed at the moment.

Midterm conferences, for one. Have to start those with my students tonight, and I’ll admit I’m not looking forward to it. For the same old reason I don’t look forward to much by way of phone calls and such: They take up a lot of time I could use doing something else. I don’t say this to belittle my students; it’s just how I feel about conferencing in general. But the show must go on lest I get dumped from the program and end up with a stain on the ol’ resume.

That’s probably the worst part of it. I do enjoy interacting with my students, reading their papers, and watching them get excited about writing. I think that’s what’s happening in this class this time around. They’ve got another big project – a personality profile – due in about a week and a half, and that’s kind of exciting. Exciting for them because they get to stretch their writing wings, and for me because Alan’s got me helping him get ready for his weeklong workshop at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and part of what he wants to do for the week is to have his students write a personality profile. So this BYU-I assignment will dovetail nicely with Alan’s work at the CSPA and help me add another feather to that ol’ resume cap.

So what’s the verdict? Do I think I could handle teaching through a doctorate and afterward? I’ve got to admit that perhaps I could, given that I’d be (possibly) working with graduate students to some point. I also think I might feel more engaged in the class if I were teaching my own curriculum, though I do admit that the stuff they’ve pulled together for this BYU-I class is pretty good.

I’ve had a trickle of midterm assessments coming through this week, and they seem generally positive, but I worry that’s because, given this is my first time teaching the course, that I’ve gone a bit soft. Maybe I’ll toughen up in subsequent sections. That is if they’ll have me. Last week I was under observation by my teaching group leader, and I haven’t heard a breath of air about that yet, though in a general sense I get the feeling he’s thinking we’re passing out too many As. And that’s probably true. I do hope, however, that he realizes he caught me on a light week, just after the students finished a project and were gearing up for the next one. If the appraisal I get is printable, you’ll see it here first. Of course, I have to ask, where else would you see it?

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