And now for the icing on the cake. (Drum roll, please).
I am teaching Non-verbal Communication this semester! This is a new and infinitely exciting course for me.
Every graduate program and teaching assignment can be different, but this particular assignment allows me to select my own textbook and basically structure the course assignments and exams to my liking. You really can’t hope for anything better as a graduate student. I’m happy that this assignment allows me to retain some of the freedom I was accustomed to as a F/T instructor, but on the other hand, my mind is racing as I try to basically build a course in no time. I need to keep brainstorming YouTube clips, activities, discussion questions, etc but things have been so hectic that it’s hard to sit down and let the creative juices flow. Let alone tailor the publisher-supplied (thank you, Pearson) PowerPoints.
Oh, and did I mention that they’ll write a FULL research paper? Not just a literature review, but a full paper in which they gather and analyze data. Holey moley. That is more work than many undergraduate research methods courses require. How do you like them apples!? I’m apprehensive about budgeting my time, but I really dig the fact that Iowa isn’t messing around.
I created the syllabus this week and made sure to contrast the course schedule with the football schedule. It sounds silly, I know. But it was actually a topic that was brought up in our teaching orientation. That and the fact the college drinking here reaches such higher proportions (even compared to other large universities) that some of our students may actually have some very serious issues stemming from their alcohol use, whether it trouble balancing their classes or, worse yet, additions to alcohol. We were warned that while students (and often professors) have the tendency to normalize and joke about high alcohol consumption, it is a very real and serious problem for many students. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. These young people are someone’s kids. Morgan Spurlock did a 30 days episode about college binge drinking and interviewed the mother of a young woman who died of alcohol poisoning. She was at her sorority’s party doing lots of shots of vodka, like everyone else. When she became unconscious her friends thought she passed out and left her there to sleep, only to find that she had died in the middle of the night. I know this happens what seems like all the time across campuses nationwide and I know that, sadly, it will continue to happen. But all of this reminded us during our teaching orientation that as graduate student instructors (who actually teach the majority of classes on campus) we are role models and mentors for these students. This job is a great honor and a huge responsibility.
Well, the semester system is long and intimidating (I’ve been on the quarter system most recently). But I’m happy to share that there are NO classes during the week of Thanksgiving. This means that there will be a 9 day break in late November! Only 13 weeks to go.