The last thing you want when starting a new job is to run into trouble straight out of the starting gate.
My grad class is now down to 2 students. I had 4 last quarter. Both of the students who dropped either are struggling with prerequisites and the material, or struggling with study skills and study habits (or possibly both). I don’t think anythings gone off the rails this quarter; the opposite in fact.
For background see
Instead of having me lecture and them sit passively (since I can’t stop them from being passive), I am having them read the sections and hand in an outline before we cover the section in class. The outline is worth 2 points. You did it is 2 points, you sorta did it is 1 point, and you didn’t bother is 0 points. I discovered quickly that “outline” is a foreign concept. If you are outlining a section that is broken down into subsections with differently colored bold faced headers, then, it seems obvious to me that every subsection must be summarized by at least one sentence. And, if there’s a major formula, theorem, or method of doing things in there, that should definitely get a mention as well. Last, they should put any questions or points of confusion in their outlines. I review these before class and make sure I’m ready to answer their questions.
I’m sure computer science isn’t happy about this. Of course, after they blew off my request to talk about the course over the break and complained to my department chair instead, I am also not so happy with them.
I wonder how this will all figure into the tenure equation in a few years. Meanwhile, I am trying to remind myself to bring my honor to my work. It doesn’t have to be my best work ever, but it has to be an honorable effort. To try not to work too hard, since part of the reason for coming here is to have more of a life. And to enjoy what I can, each day and each week. Our lives are time, and we don’t get redos on the past. In the worst case, I get to look for another job eventually, and there’s a good chance I could get one of those tech jobs I’m supposedly training this group for on the west side, and earn 2x what I am here for doing it. That would not be the end of the world.
I love teaching. I want to do it well. Universe, please help me out here.
Meanwhile, I will remember a favorite quote, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” (Mary Anne Radmacher) I will try again tomorrow.