09 January 2009

First Day of Class

I taught my own section of Introduction to Anthropology this afternoon. Sixty students were registered, but only 42 showed up. I'm hoping that the class stays fairly small.

I forgot how nerve-wracking getting up in front of a group of folks can be - and we only discussed the syllabus and class expectations. I felt like I was talking a million miles per hour, but my TA Elaina said my pace was just fine. I feel like pulling all my hair out but that's just the adrenaline talking. I finished the class slightly out of breath. I guess it could be worse. When I first started teaching, I used to vomit in the bathroom just before class.

This weekend will be fairly busy preparing the three lectures I will give next week and prepping the activities I want students to complete over the course of the term. I really want to help my students learn cool new things. I'm pretty excited. I hope that 10 years from now, if I have a job I still be as excited about teaching.

I am simultaneously running an anthropology discussion forum with my online community. Most of the folks in my community have been out of university for a while and are at the point when they enjoy learning for the sake of learning. I post the same materials I am using in my University of Georgia class to the forum - readings, web links, etc. - as well as the lecture power points and audio. The non-student students have the opportunity to learn and participate in a weekly discussion with no pressure. I get feed-back on my teaching, the materials students access, and what topics people are really interested in. Elaina thinks it is a cool idea for extra feedback, but that I am completely nuts to do it.

I am more nervous about the community forum than my IRL students. Community members are very outspoken and opinionated. There is so much potential for problems when one is discussing issues like race, human evolution, religion, politics, immigration, etc. My online community is member moderated so the possibility for butthurt is exponential.


  1. You've bitten off a lot there! Good luck with it all.

  2. Sounds like you need a better online community.