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Professor Astronomy

Stumbling out of the gate

24 Sep 2010, 22:07 UTC
Stumbling out of the gate
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Yes, it has been very quiet on this blog lately. But, perhaps to your chagrin, I am not gone forever. I've just been completely swamped with my new teaching responsibilities.

I knew that teaching was hard work, but it is amazing how much time I can put into preparing a class and still feel unprepared. I'm behind on grading, I need to be preparing exams, and I'm wondering if I am getting anything through to my students. So, from what I can tell from my colleagues' experiences, I'm having a fairly normal first semester.

I feel for my students, as I've had a few stumbles along the way. One of the topics I covered in the introductory astronomy class went over like a lead balloon (actually, I think a lead balloon would do better). At the end of the unit, I found myself asking, "why did I think this was important?", and I can't give a good answer. So, next time that unit is out, but my current students had to suffer through it.

A couple of weeks ago, I had students measuring angles using their fingers, fists, and hands. We measured the height of a couple of buildings ...

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