Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When something new is something old, but also entirely new...

So on Sunday night the nerves set in a little bit. I was ok, handling everything as I do, when my family forced me to do another trial run in front of them. So I got the notes and the pictures and proceeded to go through it all again. And they sat and blinked at me. It was awful! Like talking to a brick wall or something. I know back in the day when they were studying it was much more formal and interacting in class was totally frowned upon, but really! Even when I asked direct questions they just stared blankly.

Then I figured out at about 4am that I had a stomach bug (I will spare the details) and basically ended up staggering in on Monday morning having had about two hours of sleep and feeling like I was about to pass out.

Everyone at the lab (including the lecturer who I was teaching for) thought that I was about to collapse from an awful state of nerves. In a fit of solidarity they decided to wait until I was finished to make coffee (coffee makes me talk faster) and Luke and Megan and I headed upstairs to set up.

I was very lucky in that the first half involved them watching a video and answering questions which gave me time to calm down a bit, and then I gave them a break and got started.

And it wasn't too bad! It was the weirdest feeling, to be talking to a room full of people who are quiet and taking notes, but at the same time it wasn't weird at all. After the first few minutes I forgot that I was supposed to be nervous and I was more frustrated when they weren't participating enough. For the record, the obnoxious show-offs in the front row? Lifesavers! And towards the end they got more involved and I got through everything and I even let them go early.

So in a fit of bravery, I decided to give the next lecture, yesterday. With only one day to plan and not really understanding how to teach the stuff without it being boring and Luke being off getting a gangrenous limb checked out by the doctor, it was a little bit more nerve-wracking, but they were way more involved and it was a lot of fun, except that the loudmouths starting getting a bit difficult, but until the last five or so minutes they were fantastic and I enjoyed it. And to their credit, the last five minutes was just before lunch and I don't blame them for being a bit fidgety.

So that was my amazing lecturing debut! It was actually not bad at all and I'd like to do more someday (although not right now, my research is suffering under my teaching load already), but at the same time it wasn't very different to the teaching I've been doing in the labs for the last 5 years! It helped that I knew the students from labs and that there were only about 70 of them, rather than the huge first-year classes of a few hundred. And I had the awesome moral support of Megs and Luke, and the support form the lecturer who trusted me enough to let me teach his classes without forcing me to let him sit there which would have been WAY too much pressure!

And there was the little issue when the chalkboard got stuck and I have to do some fancy stances to try to move it...

So that's it, I'm alive, it's over and I don't feel like I've really done anything new! Except that in a fit of insomnia last night/this morning I downloaded a chess game on my phone and I can't beat it! It's driving me crazy!


sarah said...

yay! you survived! although didnt really think you wouldnt. unless all the students came from Queens High where i hear they once knifed a teacher

but they werent!

and they didnt!

so yay for that! :p

SuvvyGirl said...

Glad it all turned out okay for you!! Hope your stomach bug is going away. They are no fun and nerves don't make them any better.

Candice said...

Yay! I'm so glad that it went well!

Please let me know if you do any lecturing again any time soon - I could do with a change from Freud!

Kath Lockett said...

Well done, it is terrifying but kind of like being on a thrilling roller coaster ride at the same time. A mate once said to, "Remember, they are here to hear YOU speak. YOU are doing them a favour, so relax, they WANT to hear you." Good advice.