Crotchety in the Classroom

Everyone I know has heard all about the class I’m teaching. My colleagues — most of whom have taught for years — know as much about my class as their own. I’m guessing they find my enthusiasm more amusing than tiresome — for now, anyway. I’m grateful for heir sage advice and helpful suggestions.

I glanced over the required text before agreeing to teach the course and used the table of contents to create the syllabus. I never got around to reading the text before school started. The publisher provided presentations for every chapter. Except for the teaching, my work was done.

[Pauses until experienced teachers all over the world stop laughing.]

Sticking to the script doesn’t work. Many of the slides are confusing. Adding notes of my own helps, but with my vision issues, seeing them is a challenge. I blow them up for class, but still miss bullet points sometimes.

Though adequate, now that I’ve had a chance to read more, the text leaves much to be desired. My chief complaint is a focus on detailed examples at the expense of explaining over-arching themes and concepts. For example, a chapter on fraud talks about tons of different scams, but never the far more helpful things they tend to have in common.

Yes, details matter, but for this introductory course, I want students to see the big picture. My brain works that way all the time. How do I explain this in a way that makes the most sense to the most people? That’s what makes me a teacher. They tell me I’m pretty good, too.

I abandoned the publisher’s presentations and use the text more as a framework than a bible. Creating every lecture from scratch is extremely time consuming, but at least when I’m done, everything has been explained correctly.

They don’t call me the Crotchety Old Man for nothing.

Preparing for the next lecture, assignment, and exam is pretty much all I do anymore — even on weekends. Teaching is a lot of work, but I gotta say, I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun at the day job.

2 responses to “Crotchety in the Classroom”

  1. I’m so glad for you and your students that you had the time and energy to create your lectures from scratch.

    And the coolest thing about that is now your students will have two very different resources – what you developed/develop, and the text (which can be more like supplementary material – as little picture stuff often is better suited for)

    Best wishes!!!