Sunday, March 08, 2009


So I was youtubing the Flight of the Conchords and I saw the song ‘Rejected’ and laughed like I haven’t in years. As it’s stuck in my head at the moment I figured I’d use it as a title.

Random stuff aside, the reason I’ve been so quiet lately is that, besides the usual insane load of labs I have to teach in at the beginning of each year, I decided that I need the experience and agreed to do some lecturing for one of the courses. The scary part is that it’s tomorrow and it’s on a topic that I’m not particularly clued-up on!

On the plus side I got the materials over a month ago and I’ve had plenty of time to prepare, and I have actually been preparing, albeit slowly. It’s just scary because I’ve never done it before! I’m not afraid of the kids- I’ve failed enough of them over the last few weeks that I don’t really have to worry about my authority being in question, and the field trip is only next weekend so they haven’t yet seen me half asleep, cranky and clutching at my coffee-cup as if it’s the only thing keeping me alive (I love camping, really, but teaching and camping at the same time is exhausting, particularly when it includes trying desperately to avoid seeing the lecturer in charge in his underwear… true story!)

The lecturer who traditionally runs this section has also been amazingly supportive, he’s talked me through lecturing styles, points to focus on, ways to avoid being boring (lets hope!) pacing… and we went to one of his lectures last week to get an idea of how to approach talking to 70-odd rather stupid children. So I was feeling fine!

To tell the truth by Friday the people around me were displaying several signs of nerves and freaking out on my behalf, and I was feeling calm and confident and generally ok. Then last night I went over the plans one more time and then did a trial lecture to Lara.

For the record, Lara is the most awesome friend in the world*! She is now a lawyer who is totally clued up on rodent diversity, and she listened and participated and asked questions (including sticking her hand up and going “Ooh! Ooh!” in a way that was creepily reminiscent of my students) and she pointed out things that I would have forgotten.

1.This is something I know, but most of my friends are used to me and don’t notice anymore: I speak fast. Really, I watch movies at double speed because I understand what they’re saying because I tend to talk that fast. I also write super-quickly. When I’m nervous I speed up even more. I’ve been known to give a 15 minute presentation in under 8 minutes without leaving anything out. As La said “You’re an awesome teacher, just try… keep it below the speed of light?” So I’m stressing that they won’t be able to keep up with me because they are undergrads, and if I’m anything to go by, they’ll want to write down every word.

2. I go off on tangents. I have the attention span of a two-year old, which can make me super effective as a sequential-multi-tasker but awful to follow in a conversation. I generally have at least three or four conversations running at a time and I switch between them – once again I don’t notice and a lot of my friends don’t either, but Lara, in her pretending to take notes eventually gave me a blank stare and said “You just harped on about flower structure for five minutes, I’m assuming that’ll be in the exam?”

Anyway I’m stressing out now! I asked my mom if she’d do a run-through with me, but she’s swinging between being way too keen and not caring, so I think I’m actually going to gym to work out the stress a bit and then I’ll come back and go over my notes one more time. Wish me luck!

And if the worst comes to the worst, I have Lara on standby for drinks and sympathy on Monday night!

*This isn’t necessarily true as I have a really awesome bunch of friends, but in this case I think she deserves a special mention as most lawyers would not agree to spend a Saturday night being told about rodents by someone who can’t even stay on topic!


sarah said...

you will be FINE! but i know how scary it is to stand up and pretend you know what you are talking about to people who trust your every word... and those annoying few who don`t ... `I am the lecturer kid, so what i say is the truth. And even if i DID embellish it a little, it was only to ry make it more interesting for you - so you should thank me`

good luck

SuvvyGirl said...

You will be fine. And the number of people who carry on 4 conversations at once is huge. I do this myself, so you are not alone there. :) I'm anxious to hear how it goes!!