Responsibilities and the Shirking Thereof

Not really, but a little. So I slept in today, after the observing last night, and eventually got around to preparing the lab we’re going to hand out in 120 tomorrow. Then it was mentioned to me that there had been a bunch of students dropping by my office looking for me, and, hey!, the lab is due tomorrow and they probably want some help. So arrived at work at 5:00 PM, went up to the lab, and got cracking on the anxiety-soothing and advice-dispensing.

I’m a bit disappointed that the error analysis portion of the current lab seemed to give people a lot more trouble than I’d expected. I’d hoped that it would be a bit tedious but clear, but apparently it was only the former. Not too surprising, really, since I didn’t really sit down and think through every word, but I thought I’d done an OK job of laying down what the expectations were. Actually, I get the impression that the expectations were clear enough, but that there were too many un-filled-in blanks about how to get there. But I still feel kind of bad since I know from experience that nothing is fun than a hard assignment where there’s just not enough help on how to do what you’re supposed to be doing. Turns out, teaching is pretty hard! I atoned a bit by writing a very long email to the class spelling things out in more detail — hopefully that helped and didn’t just pile on the confusion.

I’m optimistic that next week’s lab will be a bit better. I think the things we ask them to do are a bit simpler and are more spelled out. I’d like to get really good at giving hard-but-comprehensible problems, but in the meantime I’m happy to give easier ones instead. It’s not like the kids don’t have enough work to do or anything.