Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lead TA Training, Day Four

The morning was dedicated to "microteaching", the shorter, group-based version of the videotape consultation. Everyone gives a five minute lesson, watches the video, and then the "students" provide I-Statement Feedback. Yes, this was the 15 to 30 minute session on how to give feedback in I Statements, such as "I felt confused when..." rather than "You were confusing". The good news is that I've already trained myself in this technique, and had to translate away from them to participate in the venting-against-bad-professors exercise. The bad news is that we were all recycling the lesson we'd just got consulted on the day before, so there wasn't much room for improvement. I did get a total-immersion experience in German, and a refresher on derivatives and the properties of light, as part of my student experience.

The afternoon covered a lot of managerial information about our Plan. We are being held very strictly to our 120 hours. Students who don't complete them get to work in the office during the summer. Students who complete them early drop out of existence. The director's rationale for not letting us do, say, 130 hours if we so choose, is that this might scare off anyone else who might take the position later. This to me is pretty stupid. ("I feel frustrated with the reasons behind this strict time requirement"). First, because it's unlikely anyone is going to take the position after me anyway; second, because it's simple enough to say that there's only 120 hours required and you don't have to do as much as I did.

I did get to find out about what other departments do. Some leads will spend their entire flex hours putting on the mandatory seminar for graduate students over the course of the entire year. Some (like me) have 60-70 hours (all that's left after the assorted meetings, plan updates, and other administrative duties are added up) to do whatever they feel like. I have no concrete plans as yet about what these will be; I used my planning time to create the Excel spreadsheet that would tell me just how much time I had to do stuff with.

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