Problem: For some reason, I decided to teach a brand new class.
Actually, I know why I did it. It will be good for my department and our majors. But that doesn't mean it was a good career decision for me. Now I am facing long long hours of new lecture prep. The syllabus alone already took a week of full-time work. Really.
But I have learned a thing or two about how not to be overwhelmed by a new class. My plan:
1. I am making sure to mix more discussion questions into the lectures. I have a tendency to lecture too much if I don't reign myself in. So I'm going to schedule in more discussion, even though it is a 50 person class. Students tend to be most engaged during discussion.
2. I am assigning 5 minute powerpoint-style class presentations. I do this in one other class, and students are surprisingly good. Public-speaking is an important skill to hone. I wish I had done more of it in college. The students are assigned a specific topic that they research and are to take an instructional approach, teaching us the main elements of that topic in 5 minutes. These aren't big topics--they are small ones, something I'd only spend 5 minutes or less explaining if I lectured on it. And they will be spread throughout the semester.
So I woke up today thinking, Oh my god, I have to spend all day Monday prepping lecture for Tuesday. And then I remembered that we didn't get to discuss a series of questions last class, so we will start with those. Then I have 5 students presenting that day, which will take at least 35-40 minutes. So now, my challenge will be--how can I fit all I wanted to say in 15 minutes. That is a problem I'd rather have.