to teach in the best way possible

I started my new job on Monday teaching 4 sections of introductory human biology at a community college (2 classes MWF, 2 classes TTh). I passed out a questionnaire and told the students they didn’t even have to write their name on it because I wasn’t grading it; it was just for my own curiosity. I wanted to know where they were coming from–how much background knowledge they had. I also included some questions like “what’s your favorite area of biology” and “what are your expectations of me, as your instructor?” I got a lot of similar answers on that last one.

Teach in the best way possible. Teach in a way that we can understand. Be fair. Answer all our questions. Don’t talk down to us, we’re here to learn. Help me pass the class. Help me get a good grade. I want an A+.

Mainly reasonable requests. I can only hope to teach in the best way possible, right? That should be a goal of mine. Having never done this before, it’s a learning process for me, too. They of course don’t know that I’ve never done this before (unless they googled me and came across my blog and are reading this right now, haha. HELLO!)

That’s my classroom. I went to check it out a few days before classes started and I brought Ryan with me. He is chasing after my bottle of mountain dew, haha. See how he crawls? With one knee and one foot, lol. My classes are packed–just about every single seat is taken.

It’s 30-40 students per class… for a total of around 130-140 students. I will never learn their names. As of right now, I could pick out about 3 of them. The ones that keep asking me questions. I wonder if I’ll ever learn them all…….

Not your average teacher? On the first day I asked if they knew who this was (at least 1 person in every class did):

I announced my leadership with ICAN (and had 2 women talk to me after class about it).

I gave them my cell phone number.

I let them go 20 minutes early on the first day.

I don’t assign homework outside of the classroom.

But I also…

Don’t provide them with my class notes.
Give them a quiz every week.
Have three exams + a final.
Allow them to make up missed (in-class) assignments at only half credit.


I give extra credit for Cora.

And? I pump between classes in an office with 3 other people (a mix of males and females), behind only a cubicle wall. Today someone walked in on me, I wasn’t wearing a cover. I kind of put a hand up to hide myself? and we continued on our conversation. She didn’t say a word about it–not sure if she didn’t even realize what I was doing or if she really didn’t care at all. Wait till the day a student comes in to talk to me and I’m pumping. Ha.

My first day of pumping, when I used my shirt as a “cover.”

So far? I love it. The first day everyone was pretty silent, but they’re starting to relax a bit and get more comfortable. They’re answering my questions instead of staring at me. They’re laughing at my jokes (thank god). And today? I did an entire lecture on how to question everything and be a skeptic. It’s a skill that takes practice. But I hope I made them aware of how important it is to learn that ability. My challenge? To not use birth related examples for everything, haha!

My first day.

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