Reason #1 why I fail at blogging: Class

3 Jul

A few tips on teaching college-level courses:

1) When signing up to teach a class that trains students for a particular exam, do make sure you’ve passed said exam long before the class starts. Do not register to take the test the day before the class begins. You will fail it, and then the college will have to scurry to find a replacement teacher. You will send out an apology email that your students receive while they are actually in the class you are not qualified to teach, and despite your vague “emergency” excuse, your students will know what happened. Your replacement will tell them.

2) When teaching a class as a replacement, do be awesome. Do have more experience than most of your students have years out of diapers. Do repeat phrases like “Plug and Play–we used to call it Plug and Pray,” that manage to make you not sound like a relic, but like someone who knows what the hell he’s talking about, and my god they were going to let someone who hadn’t even taken the test yet teach us, really?

3) When teaching an online course over 8 weeks in the summer, do be a slavedriver. Do encourage your students to work ahead, and show genuine disappointment when they fall behind. Do be able to comment on the quality of the book, as you helped edit it. In essence, do everything that will make your students who took an online course with some other schmuck who didn’t give a rat’s ass go “oh, so online courses can actually be worth something. Sweet.”

I’m three weeks into my summer online course, which is laid in stark contrast to my first online course. As noted above, the teacher is engaged and quick about grading and helped edit the textbook and is whipping us like sweet cream. It is genuinely hard work, which also lies in stark contrast to the classes I took during the spring semester. Part of the awesome replacement teacher’s awesomeness was that he looked at all the labs and stuff that our original teacher had planned and said “Screw that, just do the quizzes.” And you know what? We still learned all the stuff.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t need to do some more studying before taking the certification exams for which those classes trained me. I have a practice test voucher which I need to start using before June ends, and a voucher for the certification exam proper to save me $200 per test that does, sadly, need to be consumed three days before my final exam for my current class is due. Please do the math. I have not done this much studying since actual college, during which time I worked approximately four hours a week for pay rather than the 40+ I work now.

But ah, whining about work is a post for another time.


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