Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of Classes

Was yesterday...but MY first day was today. I had both classes, back to back, during lunch time (10-12). I'm glad I decided to eat before going to the first class because even after a snack, my stomach was SCREAMING after the second class. I rushed back to my office and ate my lunch in three seconds and I'm still really hungry. *gurgle*

It was a good first day. I mean, as first days go: syllabus review, academic honesty policies, accessing Blackboard and course expectations. We did get to some of the material in my Bio class, but just a brief introduction.

My biology professor is pretty great. He's a research assistant professor who specializes in evolutionary biology and ecological genetics. He's confident, friendly and seems really interested in instructor/student communication. He also seems determined to keep us up on the latest research and to use it to teach the basic principles of biology. Today we discussed monogamy/promiscuity of voles and how research surrounding hormones and receptors involved in those behaviors is being extended to human beings - all as a means of comparing hypothesis driven science with discovery science.

My geology professor can't be much older than I am. He is a newly minted PhD and is teaching his first class ever as an instructor and not a TA. He is nervous and not very confident, though I suppose that will change as the semester progresses.

The geology course is going to have some interesting labs, many of which are field trips. Unfortunately, because I'll be missing two days to attend the SVP meeting, I will also miss a field trip. Those can't be made up, so I'll have to deal with the consequences of missing the lab (which is worth 35% of my grade!!!). I'm hoping that someone will switch lab sections with me for that week or that if I just show up for another lab section there will be room for me in the department van.

It'll be an interesting semester...

1 comment:

Jerry D. Harris said...

My biology professor is pretty great. He's a research assistant professor who specializes in evolutionary biology and ecological genetics. He's confident, friendly and seems really interested in instructor/student communication.

Excellent -- nothing like a friendly, enthusiastic teacher to keep students awake. It's what I strive for (and get, probably 98.5% of the time...some people will sleep through ANYthing...!)

Today we discussed monogamy/promiscuity of voles and how research surrounding hormones and receptors involved in those behaviors is being extended to human beings - all as a means of comparing hypothesis driven science with discovery science.

Glad you added that last bit -- I was going to be very surprised at that kind of info on Day 1 of what I assume is an intro-level class...!

My geology professor can't be much older than I am. He is a newly minted PhD and is teaching his first class ever as an instructor and not a TA. He is nervous and not very confident, though I suppose that will change as the semester progresses.

Yep, it almost certainly will...but it's kind of a shame that you got him on his first semester when he's still working things out. Looking back on my first semester (or three) teaching, I think my lectures probably sucked in comparison to the ones I give now. That is, I like to think that I actually taught the kids some things, but now I've got much better demonstrations, examples, PowerPoint slides, and something of a routine in delivery that I try and make funny and lively. Very little of that my first few semesters; I was just in the initial stages of being able to determine what works and what doesn't (as well as what materials I had available for demos and such -- I was very heavily dependent on pictures back then!). In some ways, I feel sorry for the students I taught back then...I kind of feel like I gypped them compared to what my current students are getting. Not their faults, of course -- just an unfortunate coincidence of timing... I'm not saying that your teacher is going to do a poor job in any way, of course; who knows, after overcoming the nervousness of the first lecture or three, he may open right up and be the best darned teacher ever, bypassing all the proverbial baby steps I had to take to become what I hope is even just a good teacher! Just don't judge him too harshly up front. I might add that having fun, interactive students is a big help, too -- helped me calm down and create a more congenial atmosphere for everyone! I'd guess that if you interact more, and encourage your fellow students to do so (i.e., asking questions, etc.), it'll help him as much as you!