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The battles we fight are all our own/They're shabby and light and stupid and sad/They're all we have - MrPutter: doing things the hard way, because it is there.
January 21st, 2007
01:31 am
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The battles we fight are all our own/They're shabby and light and stupid and sad/They're all we have

The consensus seems to be that I'm "better than the guy that used to teach that class." Or so according to my contacts in the CS undergrad society, at anyway.

I find so far that the biggest difference between TA-ing a class and carrying the whole thing is in figuring out the pacing. In the former case, you don't really have to worry about how fast or slow you're going—you neither have any input to the pace, nor do you have to answer for it, so you just let the prof set the pace, then follow along a week or so behind, making sure everyone has a handle on their assignments. And if that pace happens to be inappropriate, well, SEP.

But as an instructor, I worry about this all. the. time. Am I going to fast? Too slow?

I oscillate between panicking that we're getting nowhere, that I'm doing a disservice to the kids because by the time the class is over we will have covered nothing that people seeing a CPSC349 on their transcript will expect them to have seen... and then worrying that I'm going so fast that no-one's understanding a thing, and I'm leaving everyone in the dust.

As with all such concerns, the reality is likely somewhere in between—with any luck, the pace is right where it ought to be. Although I have no easy way to judge this for myself. I rather suspect that this all manifests itself by my coming across alternately as a hardass and a pushover. O well.

One thing I have had to deal with is various "suggestions" from Dr. I on what I should be doing with the course. This course is a prerequisite, and in some senses a preparatory course for the stuff that he does later on in the curriculum. So it is natural his desires are mostly to see the course content biased to that end. I say "biased," however am being somewhat uncharitable. It is of course understandable that he considers that aspect of the course content the most important (else why would he have specialized in that area himself?) and to a large extent I agree with that assessment. I have to continually remind myself (and him) however that, well, this is a different course, and is a different course for a reason. Ultimately, in the grand scheme (heh) of things, it has different aims and must satisfy other expectations beyond being simply preparation for further work in functional languages. Even if functional languages ARE the purest computational paradigm.

I keeps the money saaafe and snuggly!
"I keeps the money saaafe and snuggly!"

Current Location: T2N 1N4
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: Mojave Three -- Just a Boy
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