Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I really do think there is a lot of truth in the discussion from the meeting yesterday about inexperience causing the workload/time management issues to be a major reason why some TAs are spending as much time as they are doing their work.

If this isn't your first semester teaching and you are spending 35 hours a week teaching, prepping, grading, etc, then are doing too much work.

There was some uncomfortable shifting in the room when KK said she could make you a better teacher and that she knew what she was doing, and I know it sucks to hear you're not the best at something, but I think she's right. Except for reading books for 117, it shouldn't really take anyone more than an hour or two of prep work a week to do lesson plans, which chances are you can do in your office hours. If you are spending more than 5-10 minutes a paper when grading, you are spending too much time. If you are reading drafts, and want to continue to, make it an assignment instead of a offer, and have it replace one of the papers your students write.
Don't read a paper for a student beforehand; instead, make them bring topics and questions and concerns to you. Refer them to the writing center, tell them to get their friends to help them, and make it seem less that you're delegating and more that you're allowing additional people to give opinions on the work etc.
Student-centered learning, which again elicits cringes I'm sure, is based on the idea that students are actively engaged in their own learning, not you as teacher handing down all the knowledge needed. The most effective way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, so let your students do the work. Make them grade each other for daily assignments. Ask education majors for help...yes you know more about literature, but they know more, possibly a lot more, about teaching.

Also, you just have to get over it and use it if you're worried about cheating. Students probably aren't that offended about your using it...just tell them you had problems in the past you just want to be sure. Or help instill in them the sense that catching people cheating, when, not if, it happens helps the value of their diploma.

The End.