There are two more weeks of semester before the Easter break. I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I am a bit knackered – teaching on two courses, co-writing 4 scientific papers, working on 2 grant proposals, etc, etc, moan, moan, grumble, grumble – but on the other hand it is fun to be busy. Most of my teaching is to second years. This has advantages. By now, half the cohort have enjoyed, if that is the right word, 42 hours in my company (the other half have had to manage with only 32). They have about 18 more hours to go, before summer.
After 42 hours, mainly in computing labs, I guess the second years and I know each other quite well. At their request, I drew a birthday cake on the board at the start of Tuesday’s lecture – one of them was 20 that day. So clearly things are pretty informal. This is good. Interactive lectures are better than some guy boring 50 passive, half asleep students. And students should be relaxed enough to ask questions if they don’t understand anything.
Teaching in the computing lab is a different challenge. Programming can be frustrating, a tiny little bug can make a program spew garbage and if a student (or me) can’t see it it is very frustrating. But when the bug is fixed and the beautiful plot is produced then in an instant everything is OK. Programs either work or they don’t, and when the last bug is fixed they instantly flip from infuriating to working perfectly. When they work and the student is happy, that’s good.
But still, it will also be nice when Easter comes, and I can take it a bit easier.