View Full Version : New at teaching


lostranslation
06-19-08, 03:16 PM
About a month ago, I was hired as an instructor at a private dental assisting school. I've been an assistant for many years, but I have never taught in a formal setting. Right now, I only teach one day a week, and have just two students, yet I spend at least sixteen hours preparing for each eight hour class. The school has only been in operation for nine months, and the board of directors don't know anything about dentistry, and they pretty much just handed me some books and a syllabus, and turned me loose.

So we start each class by going over homework from the week before, then a quiz, then a ten minute break, and spend the rest of the morning on a power point presentation/lecture, which is all "on the fly" for me, as I don't get to preview the power point part. I let my students interrupt with questions whenever they want, even if they are off topic. When I don't know the answer, we stop and look it up right then, because I'll forget otherwise.

After lunch, we go over to a dental clinic and practice the things we went over in the lecture. It's hard to teach what I've been doing pretty much on auto-pilot for so many years, but it's really fun too. After we clean up our mess, (which is part of the training- we leave the office cleaner than we find it.) we go back to the lecture room and I give them their homework for the following week so they can look over it and ask questions. We usually spend the last fifteen or twenty minutes just talking about whatever they want to talk about.

My students are doing well- both earning A's so far, but I feel so inadequate, and I am unbelievably scattered and disorganized, especially when I'm trying to keep all their assignments, handouts, quizzes and tests in order. I have to make copies of all their work to hand in to my boss, and then give the originals back to the students. It takes me half of my lunch hour to do that...and I get all panicked and confused about which papers are what and whose...and terrified that my boss will see my confused mass of papers by the copy machine and figure out what an air-head I am.

Anyway, I guess I'm just venting more than anything, but if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'd sure appreciate it.

prtsimmons
06-19-08, 03:58 PM
I have had the same feeling, teaching fitness classes and T.A.ing physics labs. I had a general sense of anxiety and a feeling that my lack of preparation would catch up to me, eventually. All the students, and my supervisors, seem to approve of my teaching methods and enjoy my classes, so I just tried to stop worrying about it.

It sounds like you know your subject, and you have established a good rapport with your students. I wouldn't worry if you sometimes forget your paperwork or get sidetracked with an off-topic discussion sometimes - someone will remind you if you forget something important.

Teaching is all about the people involved - the teacher, the student, their relationship, and their shared interest in the subject matter. Details like assignment schedules and taking attendance are for the bean counters.

Keep up the good work and don't sweat the small stuff!

penguin
06-20-08, 11:45 PM
Hi,
I teach computer networking at a Community College. I make a folder with the syllabus stapled on the inside cover. This is to remind you of the "deliverables" to your students. I always use a paper attendance record also inside the folder that allows me to keep that as well as when tests and stuff are due for/from students. Prepare one folder for each class.

Put the papers from your students in the folder as you collect them. Keep these folders stacked front and center on your desk so you will remember to grade/copy them. Use post-a-notes on outer folder if you must to keep track of their status. Note on text book to remember to take folder to class,LOL.

Remeber the ADDers in your class. Keep things moving and ask THEM leading questions. That will keep involvment up. Pwer points and lecture should be replaced with interactive or hands on whenever possible. ADDers and regular students both benefit from this. I have been steadily working to get the power points reduced as much as possible in our classes. If you can't, GIVE THEM A COPY OF THE PPs to take notes on.

Enjoy, I have to get my end of Qtr grades, tests and papers done...Ken

lostranslation
06-21-08, 01:14 AM
I guess the hardest part is that I don't have a desk at work. I prepare everything at home, so it's important not to forget anything. I'm so afraid that I will that I take it all... three trips back and forth to my car...three times a day...nine chances to forget something...

I also have to grade homework/tests, get them copied, the copies on my boss's desk, and the originals back to the students the day they are turned in. At least that way I don't end up procrastinating.

I like the idea of stapling the syllabus to a folder- I'm always getting it mixed up with other papers.

And, just to add to the confusion, I will be teaching a new class, dental radiology, on the 28th, and also have an interview scheduled for a completely different job (that will involve obtaining my CNA license) on the 26th.... It's all good, but scary.

Imnapl
06-23-08, 11:33 AM
Details like assignment schedules and taking attendance are for the bean counters.And for people who want to keep their teaching positions.:p

Imnapl
06-23-08, 11:40 AM
About a month ago, I was hired as an instructor at a private dental assisting school. I've been an assistant for many years, but I have never taught in a formal setting. Right now, I only teach one day a week, and have just two students, yet I spend at least sixteen hours preparing for each eight hour class. The school has only been in operation for nine months, and the board of directors don't know anything about dentistry, and they pretty much just handed me some books and a syllabus, and turned me loose.This is not unusual for new teachers or teachers preparing to teach a new course; at least not for the good ones. :D

Justtess
06-23-08, 05:13 PM
My students are doing well- both earning A's so far, but I feel so inadequate, and I am unbelievably scattered and disorganized, especially when I'm trying to keep all their assignments, handouts, quizzes and tests in order. I have to make copies of all their work to hand in to my boss, and then give the originals back to the students. It takes me half of my lunch hour to do that...and I get all panicked and confused about which papers are what and whose...and terrified that my boss will see my confused mass of papers by the copy machine and figure out what an air-head I am.

I hide paper in boxes I take to the copy machine.... small file folder boxes look nice and neat.

Have you tried putting your lessons, tests, and homework in order in a binder? It helps me keep piles non existent. (so far so good. No one has found my piles of paper in the cupboard.) :P

Rebs
06-23-08, 06:01 PM
justtess - love the boxes idea!

lostranslation - After as many years of trying, I found a way to utilize a binder that works more often than any other strategy has. I'm including a link to my addforum album and the binder I use. Believe me when I say it was years in the developing/tweaking.

I finally realized that if my work (anything that needs doing, in other words) is not out in the open for me then it's as if it didn't exist at all. Sadly, if too many things are out in the open, I also lose track! This is bad news when I might have dozens of tasks to accomplish on any given day.

These days, knowing that I have my binder (I direct precious concentration on making sure I always have it with me) has been incredibly helpful. It's got what I need but isn't overloaded. I work in a K-8 setting, your position is very different of course, but perhaps this is something you could tweak for yourself?

http://addforums.com/forums/album.php?albumid=94

One other thing I wanted to share.... if everything I use for organization (clips, file folders, whatever) is the same shape, style, or color, then it tends to be very hard for me. When I have a wild assortment of colors, binder clips, bright sticky note shapes, and different types of file folders, I find I can track it all much more easily. Took me forever to figure this out! Again, this might not work for you in your work setting.

lostranslation
06-24-08, 02:19 PM
Great suggestions- thank you all!

Now, heh, to add the the confusion, I have an interview on Thursday for a CNA position with the local mental institution. I don't have a CNA license, but they provide on the job training. Oh, and I start teaching dental radiology this Saturday. So, yea... teach two classes, take a class/new job added to old new job... whooohooo!!! (Please pass the Ritalin. I'll take it with lots of black coffee. Thank you.:p)

I really want to get the CNA job, although I know that I'm kind of pushing it as far as overloading myself, but the teaching position is part time contract work with no benefits, and my husband needs to quit his job that provides my insurance- long story involving back stabbing, lying, poor management, not to mention unsafe working conditions.

So I'm working on getting a binder/clipboard put together and finding a briefcase that I can fit everything into for teaching. I also set up Google calender to remind me of stuff- It sends texts to my cell, which is very cool and helpful.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.

Rebs
06-24-08, 03:43 PM
Oh, wow, text messaged reminders.... what a great tool! (I will have to think about using this during the summer time, I know it wouldn't work for me during the school year - thanks for sharing this!)

Best of luck to you - sometimes being overloaded is our way of keeping ourselves on our toes! Sounds like you're still keeping tabs on things, though. Keep the forum posted with how things are going!!

Serve up that coffee/ritalin combo with a side of fish oil capsules and you should be good to go!!

=)

Imnapl
06-24-08, 03:57 PM
So I'm working on getting a binder/clipboard put together and finding a briefcase that I can fit everything into for teaching.A small suitcase on wheels seems to be popular these days.

lostranslation
06-24-08, 04:08 PM
Serve up that coffee/ritalin combo with a side of fish oil capsules and you should be good to go!!

Yep... makes for an interesting aftertaste. (burp cough bleh.)

A small suitcase on wheels seems to be popular these days.

I have one of those things. But where on earth is it?

Imnapl
06-24-08, 04:13 PM
I have one of those things. But where on earth is it?Where is the last place it should be?

lostranslation
06-24-08, 06:32 PM
Never mind. The school just called and canceled my class. The school was running at a deficit. sigh.

Rebs
06-25-08, 07:11 AM
Oh, what a shame, I'm sorry to hear this. Hang in there!