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doglet

does it ever go wrong for anyone else?

Hi

Firslty, hello fellow academics, it's nice to have a forum just for us. I suppose I ought to give some background before picking your brains. I only started teaching last year so I am very new to it. I did get some good feedback from students (honestly!) but am not the most confident person and don't find teaching easy at all. I enjoy the student contact but find the whole thing quite stressful at times!

Today, it went horribly wrong and it has really knocked my confidence. I as teaching the Masters students for the first time this year (2 x 2 hour lectures with lunch in the middle) so a pretty intensive day. The AV equipment was problematic, partly due to me and partly other factors. I let this stress me out and it affected both lectures, probably because I felt incompetent, when really I am usually fine with the whole AV issue. I found that I muddled my words up etc and just did not ooze the lecturer spark that I know I have done before etc. There was also someone in the class that I currently work with in my research job (as a student) which I found very difficult to deal with. I have tried putting some barriers up this year to deal with this as I knew it may be an issue.

I need to get over this and just see it as a blip. I am sure it was not as bad as it feels. I do really want to do a good job of teaching the students and I do put a lot of time into editing lectures, providing resources etc so it is not lack of effort.

Sorry for the long ramble. I just wonder if anyone has times when it really goes wrong and what they do to try and redeem themselves next time. AV equipment should be sorted now, so I am hoping that will not be a problem again!

Thank you! Very Happy
Dr Spouse

Firstly - welcome (if you feel like saying a bit about yourself, there's a separate board at the bottom of the page - you can be as vague as you like!)

Secondly, yes, of course, it happens to everyone! I'm not that experienced but I've been teaching for - gosh - nearly 10 years now (not counting small group teaching while a postgrad) and these AV hiccups always make me flustered, too, even though I'm reasonably good with them. Sometimes moaning about the university, admin, or tech support gets the students on your side, I find.

I have taken to going round every room I'll be teaching in before the start of term and checking all my slides etc. work. I even do this when I've taught the same class in the same room before as they change things like computer setups. I am not normally obsessive in any way (in fact, slapdash would more describe it) but this just makes me a lot calmer.

I have had an RA that I was employing part time in one class I taught, plus I had some students who'd been in a similar UG class with me last year, and I did feel "oh no, they already know this" but in fact the RA in particular was great and helped lead discussion, so it can work to your advantage.

Best of luck, it's very nervewracking! And sorry it's so quiet, it's early days I think, and some of us are just trying to get things going. Tell your friends!
frog

hello!

I think it's impossible NOT to feel incompetent at times. It's a very public face job... and though we try and be real there's always a 'theatre' aspect to it.

Also why it can be so draining (like now, december... who's got any energy left?)

It's very easy to feel more 'strongly' when things go wrong, and fail to appreciate how often things go right. So often, you get 40 student evaluation forms, 38 are positive, 2 have a moan... and you go home feeling crap! So, finding a way of dealing with that is quite important I think.

No magic answers though!
Dr Cat

It does happen to everyone else (I think).  Note too the reason that you don't know about it, is because it's not normally talked about and not normally a huge deal (although it always feels like it if it's you).  Even the students are understanding about situations at times, so try not to worry too much about it!

I have a tip for student evaluation forms.  I tend to make four piles, and put them all into one of those piles.  I skim read all of them sorting them into
1. the good stuff (this is the you're the greatest teacher I've ever known, also known as the pick me up stuff when you've had a day like you've had)
2. the ok stuff (satisfactory/good with no elaboration)
3. the vitriol (the personal attacks, slights, whatever) only to be looked at on a very good day and with a big dollop of perspective
4. the constructive criticism (again only to be looked at when in the right frame of mind) but will give you an opportunity to grow and learn as a lecturer.

You are not alone, and we all make mistakes and have bad experiences, it's what happens next that's important.  Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself the opportunity to make mistakes and move on from them.
Dr Spouse

We've had a recent circular about harassment via student feedback. Officially they (admin) are now supposed to weed this out but this is recent and they are not very up to speed on it. Sometimes nasty comments get through that are personal (with names) or clearly identifiable (specify the part of the course, one-lecturer option).

I'm glad they are trying, though - in my last job - first year of teaching - I had some really awful feedback and I was in tears.
Figgy Pudding

Student evaluations

Student evaluations are the very devil, aren't they?

I always tell my students to comment on the module and not on the lecturer. I point out that when I give them feedback on their coursework, I don't criticise how they dress or their body language - I comment on what they do well and what they need to tweak - and that I expect the same courtesy in return.

It works most of the time...

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