Monday, October 08, 2007

Visits and Visitations

Allow me to confess a deep, dark secret: I haven't had my class observed in 9 years. My first semester as a TA, way back in those halcyon days of the fall of 1998, I had to give my first lecture. It was a trial by fire... 570 ill-behaved kids, lecturing on material I hadn't studied since my undergraduate days, while being observed by my boss and the instructor of my teaching practicum class.

It was nerve-wracking.

They said I did well, gave me some pointers (slow down! don't baby them! speak louder!), and we all went on with our lives.

Since then, I've worked as a TA for 5 years, taught my own class, and finally been hired as a full-time, tenure-track instructor. And since then, I've never had another in-class observation. Something or other has always come up, and the general response of my supervisors has been, "I'm sure you're doing fine."

That was then, this is now.

Now I'm tenure-track, and there's a very clear procedure. I am to have course evaluations conducted in all my classes, and a dean-level visitor observe me. We just scheduled it for later this term. He'll be coming to my MWF morning class, my second-most-active class. That's probably good, since it should give a good indication about how I teach... rather than the amazingly amazing afternoon class or the hopelessly quiet TTH class.

This guy is the one who hired me. He came to my teaching demonstration during my interview and praised me tremendously. And yet, I feel like I'm going to throw up just knowing this is looming on the horizon. Is it a visit? Or a visitation?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Could be worse...

"You applied first for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, is that correct?"

"Yes."

"But you were unsuccessful?"

"Obviously."

11:21 PM  
Blogger EJ said...

Please save my conversations to increase class discussion from below until the visitation:)

1:11 PM  

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