the wrong side of the bed

Friday, October 29, 2004

i believe that children are our future

i was making copies for my class up in the office the other day when i ran into a faculty member that i know well. i was in the middle of a large job, so while he waited for his turn, we chatted a bit. he asked me what i am doing this semester and i told him that i am "teaching" the intro race and ethnicity class. he said, "oh? are you teaching it?" and i replied, "no, no. i am TAing it." and we continued on with our conversation. the thing is, though, i was really irritated. this has come up before. why can't i say that i am teaching a class? according to my conceptualization of the word "teacher", what i do is so much closer to teaching than what many professors do. i mean, i am engaging the students with the material in one on one interactions (often). professors and lectures present information, but i am the one who makes sure that they understand. it isn't as if animatronic bears could do what professors do, that's not what i am saying. obviously, preparing lectures is really difficult. i have guest lectured a couple of times, and i spent days preparing for something that took 50 minutes, so obviously it is hard work. and selecting the material to be covered in class is also a skill that most TAs don't have to bother with. however, i really think i should be able to claim that i am a teacher. afterall, i am the one who knows if the students are learning or not and i am the one they come to for help.
1:24 PM

8 Comments:

how would an animatronic dorotha behave?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:47 PM  
grrrrrrrrrr. this gets my goat too. i am with you 100% on this.

Streph
Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:43 PM  
animatronic dorotha is pretty much the same as good old, regular dorotha. well, except that animatronic dorotha has eyes that glow red when she is full of bloodlust. it's a handy feature of that particular model. with flesh and blood dorotha, you just never know when the attack might come.
Blogger dorotha, at 7:56 PM  
Dude, I don't know. I've seen some classes that would benefit from having a guest lecture from an animatronic bear. I'm just saying.
Blogger A+, at 11:07 PM  
Could animatronic dorotha and real life dorotha teach tag-team style?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 AM  
could we have animatronic dorotha and an animatronic bear fight it out in front of the class? that would totally make learning fun.
-anonymous philanthropist
Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:05 AM  
Well, from having done both I have to say that teaching your own class is a lot harder than TAing. That said, I partially agree with your point. It is often the case that the TA is more involved in actually teaching the material, while a disinterested faculty member just vomits out a lecture. I think it's one of those things where an active and engaged grad student TA will be more of a teacher than an indifferent Ph.D., but not so much with a moderately or fully engaged professor.

Maybe we could conduct an experiment on animatronic professors? If there are any defunct Chuckee Cheese's in your area you could... um... borrow one of the band members for the task. So long as you don't mind it being an animatronic bear with a banjo anyway.
Blogger Drek, at 10:48 AM  
but, dorotha isn't claiming she is *more of* a teacher. just that she should be allowed to say she is teaching a class. an alternative explanation of the faculty member's comment could be that they were impressed by the possibility that dorotha might be lecturing a course (rather than simply _teaching_ discussion sections), so that might be an explanation. at any rate, I don't see why it has to hinge around making a big distinction between what one does when they "teach" versus what one does when they "TA".

i think for halloween next year dorotha should be an animatronic bear.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:15 PM  

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