Largely, I think, due to my move and the efforts in becoming acquainted with new material to teach, I have been more focused on teaching lately than in the past few years.
While at my previous university, I had prepared plenty and was known for my interesting and unusual methods of teaching. Still, most of the preparation had taken place over the past few years, rather than over a single semester. I am adapting old material and creating new material and it is both fun and tiring.
Recently, I had one of my worst classes ever, and it is partly a result of the planning I now find myself busy with. I had spent some time looking at material to use to discuss families. When I finished, I went to class and taught a great twenty minutes of the stuff I had just prepared – to the wrong class.
I apologized to my second year class for presenting material intended for first year, complimented them on how well they apparently remembered it all, and struggled to teach from the correct textbook.
I hope I don’t do that again.
In other teaching news, I have been reading more education-focused books than ever before. A friend at my previous university had given me a book by Rafe Esquith, which I mostly enjoyed, so I have another one by him on my bookshelf, ready to go (teach like your hair’s on fire). I am also reading about public speaking (Confessions of a public speaker) and noting how often the author, Berkun, discusses education.
Next on the bookshelf is a book on motivation by Daniel Pink, who gave an excellent TED talk. I am particularly interested in his discussion about creativity as that is something I wish to incorporate into my teaching.
Again, my goal is to learn how to teach how to learn.