Well it’s official, I’m a teacher now! A new semester is here and I’ve now taught for a week and a day! It’s the beginning of week two and I’ve had five class sessions already. This semester I’ll be teaching three units: Networking Essentials and Introduction to Programming and Algorithms for the students, and Introduction to Linux for the staff. That’s one class every day, so I’ll be very busy writing lesson plans, assignments, and continuous assessment tests (CATs)…
On the first day of class I usually write my name, the course number, and the course title on the board. Last semester I wrote “Mr. Orth” and a few students giggled; I guess they could see right through the act, as I’m not really the formal type. This semester I told my students to please call me “Alan.” Among other things, I also tell them to please ask questions.
“Teachers love questions”
“Teachers love questions,” I tell them. For the first few days they were timid, but they have started speaking up; asking me for clarification, for instance. I have a young man in my programming class, and he boldly asked a question the first day! The girls, on the other hand, are very quiet, so I usually have to get closer or ask them to speak up. When a brave soul speaks up I smile and address their question happily, an attempt to make them feel welcome and encourage the behavior to continue (positive reinforcement!).
Also, talking for an hour is only easy if you have things to say! My problem isn’t the delivery, it’s the the process of coming up with content. Standing in front of the classroom and writing on the board is surprisingly easy, but I always feel bad when I have to end class after an hour (each class is allotted two hours!). I figure at least I’m there every day and willing to help the students. Some teachers don’t even show up… yikes!