Professor Wend: The First Few Weeks

I thought it would be nice to post an update about my first few weeks teaching at Burlington. First off, I have to say my colleagues and the support staff have been extremely helpful. When I run into professors from the English program they offer help, guidance, and anything else I need. The secretaries in the Liberal Arts department offices have gone above and beyond to help me and answer my often idiotic questions. The print shop, which is a post in and of itself, has aided me and, during that first week, really went out of their way to help me as well. Which leads to…

When I got home the first day of classes, the dean of my department called and asked if I would be willing to pick up an additional course. So now I am also teaching a section of Eng102: Composition II. Unlike Eng101, which is more of a mechanical, and technical, English course, 102 allows me to teach short stories, plays, and later in the semester some poetry. I am really enjoying this class. The conversations have been lively and I have had my brain picked by a few future English majors after class almost every session.

Since the semester began, I have already gone through a few Google Calendar revisions. Originally I was going to allow students to set up meetings with me from 9am-noon when I am off, but I have shrunk that down to 9am-10am because I am doing prep work for my other classes during those other hours. I found a computer lab I am using as an “office” and so far that has worked out fine. The campus is pretty small, so if a student needs to find me they usually can without a lot of pain. I store all of my lecture notes, handouts, etc in Google Docs so I can access them at any time. I’ve also created a very detailed spreadsheet to keep track of grades and attendance. At the end of the semester I will post the templates I have created, once I finish tinkering with them.

So far, I have not had to make a lot of changes to the syllabus or schedule. One change I have made is to add more group work to my 101 classes. Students seem to responding more to working in small groups than they do to me lecturing for an hour. That is fine with me; whatever helps them learn is what matters.

On the sidebar to the right, I have added links to the syllabus, schedule, and course weblog for both of my classes.