By applying for the TA position for the Intro to Psych class, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into since I didn’t know any of the other girls or really know Dr. G that well. I just thought it would be beneficial to me in some shape or form. Looking back, I am so glad I was able to have the opportunity to get the behind the scenes look at what really goes on into the preparation for the lectures and the presentation of the lectures. There is more to it than the average student knows. I know as a student myself, I thought the whole teaching gig didn’t look that intricate but was I ever wrong.
The planning classes has a lot of detail worked into them, especially the very first day from setting the stage to introducing the subject and conveying to students why it matters and is relevant. From the very first class I felt like it was going to be a fun experience TA’ing for this class with Dr. G. Like I posted in my first blog about the first day: It was a fun atmosphere to walk into with music playing in the background as everyone found their seats. Having a professor that is upbeat really grabbed the attention of all the students in the large class and set the stage for an enjoyable introduction/learning experience. Having the students write their names visibly on paper for name tags and asking them to raise their hands or stand up for polled questions breaks the ice and makes them feel like they are included throughout the discussions.
The name tags came in handy when some students were goofing around and Dr. G would casually send a question out and call on them to keep them engaged. I do have to say that the class was never boring and something relevant was always brought up with some added comical measure. As a TA taking on some responsibilities for the class was more time consuming than it sounded, I am thankful there were six of us to split it up between. Emailing students with questions and reminders along with grading papers for such a large class is a ridiculous amount of work for one person and makes me give more appreciation towards the faculty that do it single handedly.
By viewing the class from up top at a bird’s eye view or on the bottom as a professor sees the class, there are so many different aspects and things going on that are brought to your attention that aren’t usually noticed. I found myself getting annoyed when there would be students constantly getting up or playing with their cells phones, talking etc. I can only imagine how frustrated a professor gets. It made me reflect on my own student edicate because I too fall into those annoying habits sometimes.
I have learned so much through this experience from listening to some familiar music before presenting to calm the nerves, making eye contact with the whole class, being mobile while teaching to engage students, and running study sessions. The best part of the experience I have to say was being able to work with such a great group of girls. We all worked together cohesively and some really great friendships evolved from it.