The Joy of Teaching

Gave my last formal lecture of the semester today.  It’s quite a big class and I haven’t taught this material before, so it was a little daunting but I really enjoyed preparing it and learning some new things.  It’s also been quite a proactive class, so it’s been fun to teach.  I really like it when students ask questions during the lecture.  Partly it forces me to stop for a minute and clarify something, but it’s also just nice to have some interaction.

Today I had a really clever question that I couldn’t actually answer.  It’s slightly embarassing when someone asks a question to which you don’t know the answer, but it also shows that there are some really bright students out there who  get some of the subtleties really quickly.  I do often try to think of what I could be asked during a lecture, but it is hard to predict.  Generally the students completely ignore what you think might be obvious and ask something you hadn’t considered.  I’ve since worked out the answer to the question I was asked and have posted an explanation on the course’s discussion board.  I’ve been a slow convert to some of the technology that we use today, but when used properly it can be very helpful.

Despite not being able to answer a question during the lecture, I received what seemed to be a very genuine round of applause at the end of my lecture.  Never quite sure how to respond to this.  It certainly feels good to get a round of applause at the end of a series of lectures, but also a little embarassing.  Was also asked to autograph someone’s lecture notes.  I did do it, but this may well have been someone taking the p**s.

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