First teaching experience: Midpoint assessment

2013.01.16 - Campus That waking up to fresh snowfall, which won’t interfere with my schedule, and which I won’t have to shovel, is lovely and magical. Photo by jby.

Things I am at least starting to learn, a week and a half into this January-term teaching gig at Bard College (With a couple updates about 17:30h, same day.):

  • That, for some reason, a “spot quiz” is less threatening than a “pop quiz.”
  • That the logisitical difficulties of organizing a lab activity increases nonlinearly with the number of people performing said lab acitivity.
    • That I have not yet found a point at which this curve becomes asymptotic.
    • That I’m not sure there is one.
  • That kids today are still everyone is into Frank Sinatra.
  • That it makes me pathetically happy to discover more than half of the class is interested in the topic I’ve picked for the day.
  • That the ungodly lunchtime crowd in the dining hall will reliably thin out if I just wait half an hour.
  • That four and a half hours of daily class time is a vast, gaping expanse of emptiness.
  • That four and a half hours of daily class is not nearly enough time to teach all the science.
  • That it is possible to detect the precise moment when the temperature of class discussion transitions from “vigorous” to “heated.”
    • That it is not necessarily possible to change the subject before this point is reached.
  • That no one complains when I put on a video.
  • That I will never be completely prepared.
  • That I am, at most, one-third as hip and interesting and witty as I generally assume.

Campus life

Bard College has buildings like this:

2012.01.06 - Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts. Photo by jby.

And like this:

2012.01.06 - Ward Manor Ward Manor. Photo by jby.

And also like this:

2012.01.06 - Bertelsmann Campus Center Bertelsmann Campus Center. Photo by jby.

Which is to say, it’s about what you’d expect for a Northeastern liberal arts college which has (1) been around awhile, and (2) has money for Frank Gehry. It’s a nice place to walk around in the winter sunshine, after a morning working in this building:

2013.01.05 - Reem-Kayden Center Reem-Kayden Center for Science and Computation. Photo by jby.

2012.01.06 - RKC II RKC from another angle. Photo by jby.

Had a good first meeting with my class this afternoon; we hit the ground running tomorrow!◼