Tuesday, April 6, 2010

they can't be serious

Dudes. I'm currently teaching an intro class that is offered regularly by my department, but this is my first time teaching it. It has no official (scheduled) lab component, yet it still fulfills the sciences requirement at SLAC. Which is justified, given the material this course covers. However, I had not previously appreciated the extent to which having a lab section discourages the seriously science-phobic from taking a course.

I'm dealing with an entirely new level of student, and I'm having trouble adjusting myself down to their level after teaching within certain expectations for almost two years. I know this is my problem and I need to fix it, but sometimes I just can't believe what comes out of their mouths.

A few examples. Student A last week raised a hand in class and after stumbling over a question, said, in complete earnest, "can you just start over?" Student B asked me to clarify what these crazy things called "log rhythms" are. Student C, after an entire lecture focusing on X, came to my office and said..."so, what is X?"

If this was my first term I would be seriously concerned that it was all me, and I was just really bad at teaching. Instead, I think the nature of this course makes students believe it will be an easy science requirement. My friends, that is not the case, and I hope you've figured it out by now.


T said...

My first semester teaching my intro ancient history survey at my current institution, we were studying for the final when one of the students asked what I meant by "BCE" and "CE." Several more agreed they had no idea what I was talking about. The whole semester had gone by and been almost completely meaningless... I took that as a wake-up call.

Liberal Arts Lady said...

In my defense, I think I'm justified in expecting them to know some of the basics .... something along the same lines of "Oxygen is an element"