Il ne donne plus (Monday, 12 July 2010)

July 12, 2010

Today was my first day of teaching. I had one hour of lecture and two hours of lab. I am exhausted.

I prepared fairly well I think; I was only a few minutes under on my lecture. But the students got a lot further in the lab than I expected. There were a few students who had weird situations — one somehow set her text color to white and couldn’t figure out why the text wasn’t coming. "Monsieur! Ça ne donne plus." (It isn’t giving any more.) [It’s because the background is also white, and she couldn’t see the results.]

Right now I’m utterly exhausted. Moi, je ne donne plus aussi.

And the worst part is that (like Jessica says) today was just the first day. We’re all like, "Yay, we did it!" but we have to do it over and over again for two more years.

I guess I should consider what I’m going to teach next time, based on lab sessions. Number one: Undo. It solves so many problems.

I only have one class tomorrow, but I have forgotten which.

The hard part is that the students will not get it but not really explain how they are not getting it.

I have been reading Round Two Cameroon, a volunteer who is finishing her term of duty. She was involved in a partnership with a charity called Books for Africa that ended up with a ton of books coming out here and being distributed to a bunch of different schools/libraries. I know a bunch of people stateside have been looking for a charity like this.

I’m looking through my lesson notes and there are a lot of things I didn’t realize. There’s just so much that needs to be explained here about how a computer and how software works. The curriculum covers stuff like "Inserting a graph" and "Printing" but really that’s just a cover for "How do we use mice" and "How do cursors work". Today a student asked me how to remove the cursor from her document — which is kind of a legitimate question, because it’s distracting if you’re trying to read.

There’s just a ton of basic groundwork stuff that we take for granted as computer users because we’ve been playing with the damned things for so long. It’s like trying to talk about rainbows with someone who wears sunglasses all the time — they’ll get it if you explain it enough, but they need you to explain everything. And critical thinking is really missing. I asked them how to guess whether I had gained or lost weight based on some random numbers I generated for my "weight" and they had no idea. Maybe I should have given them more time.

My first impression is that I suck at being a teacher. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t; I don’t feel like it’s "hard", just a huge pain in the ass. I don’t enjoy it, it’s not fun, I don’t have passion for it. Maybe it will be more fun as things go on, as I learn the class, as my students build in confidence and skill. But today is one of those days when I think about failing out.

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