My blog has been all McLuhan all the time as of late, but I have asked students in both of my classes to start blogging, so it might be a good idea to reflect on teaching instead of research.
After only a week and half, I am having to juggle the schedule in one class and explain a short assignment in another class. Both are really typical teaching moves, and they highlight two of the hardest things to master with teaching: pace and clarity.
Pace. I definitely err on the side of speed, thinking that it is better to get off to an energetic and ambitious start than a sluggish meandering start. Classes usually find a rhythm after a few weeks, and they always have their ebbs and flows throughout the semester. It took me quite a while to learn this--experience really is good for something.
Clarity. I wrote really short directions for a short writing assignment on my class schedule, and after I got a few emails from students, I realized that I was asking students to do about 4 things, all of which needed more explanation than the one sentence description I put on the schedule. These moments are really fascinating examples of just how hard it is to communicate effectively with people, especially with people you are just starting to get to know. I bet a one sentence description like that one might work late in the semester, when students are familiar with me and the assignments, but I can see how I was asking students to do too many new things all at once. Pace.
I will slow down in both classes on Thursday. We will talk, we will breathe, we will try to achieve clarity.