I felt like my nervousness from the first class wasn’t as present as it has been in previous classes, but it was still there. I’m not nervous about being in front of the class thanks to all the work I had done while attending Marlboro Grad School. They required that we make presentations all the time and through that I found I actually was quite skilled at them. But my nervousness is from feeling like I don’t know enough on about teaching to be instructing the class. I know the material and could pass an A+ exam without much effort, and I’ve had to admit a few times that I would need to look up the answers and that doesn’t bother me. It’s the times when I feel like I’m not doing enough for the students. The times that I see people not participating, when I know I was the same way and it took good teachers to engage me and get me on that track. I want to be that teacher, but some days I feel like I don’t have the background I need to be that person, to truly understand the student and get them the help they need to succeed without insulting them.
I’ve been doing a good job of crowd sourcing the class in terms of how I’m handling workloads. I’ve ensured that people are doing the homework and providing up to date grades so they can know exactly where they stand at any given time. This has gotten a lot of feedback in class. Last class after the weekly quiz I got some feedback that 3 questions weren’t enough for the weekly quiz with how heavy it was weighted. I let the class vote and no one voted for keeping it at 3 questions, about half voted to make it 5 questions, and the other half didn’t care. With how I create the quizzes each week, making the change to 5 questions just took a couple clicks and they were all set. The grades were better overall and I think people didn’t feel as stressed out about missing one question as a result. Yet one more reason to get feedback from your students constantly.
This week I presented material about securing your digital data. I was able to engage the entire class through an interactive activity where the content was generated as much by them as it was by me. Last semester when I was co-teaching, we tried to get the students to do group work. The feedback we got at the end of the semester was that the group work felt more like busy work then an actual learning activity. This time I wanted to change that. I got them to work in groups and create profiles for people that would be affiliated with our fictitious company. Some of the names and habits got a laugh and I helped to feed into that to keep the class entertained and with me while I led them through a new way of looking at security. Instead of coming from the inside looking out, I had them look at it from the users social perspective and how it would create holes that would be hard to plug.
I did end up losing people’s attention towards the end. I knew I went over my planned time for the activity. I felt like this is the reason I lost them. I was trying to wrap up the last bits of information and powering through and lost the coherency that I had established earlier. It was way too easy to get distracted with a fun activity and not allow the people time to continue working on their lab work. I need to really plan my time better for these activities and perhaps make checkpoints for myself so I know when I need to skip ahead and make sure I wrap up in time. With the clock out of my sight while teaching, I’m finding it hard to keep my eye on the time, but I’ll make a point to keep an eye on that going forward.
At the end of class I got quite a few “That was a fun activity” feedback comments from my students, I won’t lie; it felt great to hear that! Seeing students engaged and enjoying class made me feel like I made the right choice in pursuing this opportunity. It also proved that I was able to develop a tool that worked with all the students participating, not just the people that know the material or ones that are new to it, but literally everyone.
Overall I believe that my activity was a great tool, but I need some more refinement. I ended up going longer then I had anticipated and ended up losing the lab time that I had planned on, which happened to me last class also. While most people enrolled in this program have access to a PC they can work on, not all of them do so I need to keep that in mind and ensure I allow enough time to get the lab work done.
I’m really enjoying this experience! I’m eagerly anticipating next week.