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2007-09-02 - 10:30 a.m.

teaching...students...body distractions

Last week was a BIG week. My masters students arrived. I spent three long days in an intensive teaching workshop. And my summer workers finished everything up with a small party on Friday. There were many accomplishments but lots of activities for Mama Teranika.

The teaching workshop was surprisingly fulfilling. I was the only faculty member out of 20 participants. This didn't really surprise me because it is the week before classes, and this particular teaching workshop was intended for grad students who are trying to get a teaching certificate. But it added an interesting dynamic to the course. I brought the perspective of teaching grad students, and balancing this work with a professor's life. They were all much closer to the student experience and brought me some great hints on how to engage students and how students react to different experiences.

It was an eye-opener to learn that many students are quite reflective - they need time to process before they can answer a question - that reflective time feels like a millennium when you are standing in front of a group! They also gave me great tips on how to interact with groups, and just a little bit more confidence about what I actually do well.

One point that really came home to me was that teaching is a bit like writing a paper - there HAS to be a goal. Normally when I think about a class I think about filling a two-hours of air time rather than the specific objective that I am wishing students to achieve. I think that thinking about the objectives more explicitly rather than implicitly will make the classes - and my own direction in the course - more explicit.

But now of course I start teaching next week, and I am trying to revamp my old lectures to try to pull some of these new ideas into the fray, and so it's made my job a bit harder. Establishing these objectives and finding the right learning tools is NOT a small project. ugh.

The second event of the week was finishing up the summer with the high school interns. Friday was their last day, and so we cleaned the lab as a team, put up some more posters, rearranged some of the equipment, finished going through all of the stuff that they had accomplished, and then sat around for 45 minutes eating cake and just talking. One of the students asked for a letter of reference; the other asked if it would be possible for her to work in the lab AGAIN next year. I was enthusiastic about both requests. They gave me a lovely thank-you card. It seems that they really DID like working in the lab this summer, and that they felt part of a team. It warmed my heart, because I hadn't worked so hard to give them specific projects - I just tried to give them experiences on every lab processing task instead. It seems that it still worked. They are lovely girls, and I just hope that they took something away from it that they will reuse, even if it is knowledge of the tedium that is science!


And now it's the weekend - and I'm exhausted again.

Every week brings a new surprise with this whole pregnancy thing. I was all geared up to start yoga yesterday. Then sometime on mid-friday my stomach started aching like a big one, which was followed by back ache, side ache and cramps. hurumph. So instead I'm spending my weekend trying to find a comfortable position in which to stand, sit, lie, or whatever. ugh. food? forget food. This can't be good, this not wanting to eat thing.

My first idea was that the quiche on friday was the trigger. or the slightly-undercooked eggs at breakfast. But then the back pain went into full gear after we swept, mopped, and thoroughly cleaned the lab. Alternatively, it could just be another one of these things that pregnancy just throws at you - SURPRISE! today, THIS will happen!

This is supposed to be the POWER trimester. Can I please be allowed to be comfortable for just a little bit longer?

So I really need to spend the rest of this holiday weekend working, but perhaps I will try to do a few more stretches first. It sucks to just be in pain all the time.

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