Thursday, September 07, 2006

TA Madness

Another week of recitations down and no serious depression has set in yet. Actually, I'm enjoying doing it. But, I always enjoy the actual doing of it- I love the subject, and I'm getting to a point where I know all of the things in your basic World Civ text book. So, little oddities like Harappa don't throw me when someone asks about them. I'm getting better at this, and I like that.

What made me miserable last year wasn't instructing, or lecturing; it was doing it every week in front of pissy students who resent 'having to take' World Civ. But, so far, I'm really not concerned. I still have plenty of students who hate the course, but they're getting to be background noise for me. There are certain types that I get every single semester, so the "girl who despises me from the first word I say and then glares at me until the last recitation with utter disdain", for example, barely even registers anymore. The "hyperactive problem child who should never have gotten into university" doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm detached.

This is the course that everyone has to take, and so a certain percentage of them just hate it. And they just hate us. And that doesn't change. So, as an instructor, you either focus on the material or you focus on the students. In the movies, a great teacher is one who focuses on the students. I don't find that works at all. At least, not in university. Here the great instructors seem to love the material and know it well, and focus on that.

I don't know- I'm still really happy after two weeks. Ask me again how I'm doing on week twelve! My game plan is just to read a lot of great books for my exam fields and try not to stare into the abyss of the American undergraduate population for any serious length of time. Mall University is what it is.

Rufus' Maxim #2: Until you can get out of it, try to stay above it.

No comments: