Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lots of Instruction

I always forget how crazy the weather gets in winter in my neck of the woods. I have always lived in the same general vicinity (give or take 150 miles), and still I forget every winter. Today it is 60 and absolutely pouring. Thursday they are calling for snow. Gotta love it.

I have been pretty busy lately with instruction. I had 7 sessions in 2 weeks. While that may not seem like a huge amount, it is when considering it's all the sessions I had lined up (last one is today). They just all came at once, and with it being a new job and needing to prove to a new set of professors that I can help their students, it's been a little stressful. Additionally, I am now responsible for business-related instruction, which is pretty new to me, so I have had to do a lot of research for a few of the sessions.

But I do love teaching. And I love working one on one with the students. I actually visited one class twice. The first time was for a standard instruction session, the second time was just to answer questions while the students were searching the databases. I think it's great that this professor wants his students to become so familiar with the databases that he schedules several days of class time to do it. The class is a research class, actually, so it makes sense.

I also really liked that he made sure to emphasize both times that one of the major reasons I came to the class was so everyone would get to know me and could feel comfortable coming to me with questions in the future. To me, that's a very important component, so it's great when profs think so too.

While I have probably written about it before, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to give students time to do some searching on their own during the session. They need time to apply what they learn and also to assimilate new information into their already existing knowledge base. In most cases, I prefer to have them search first so I can see what they already know and what techniques will be most useful to point out. However, with a recent class, I went over everything first because there were two specific limiters that gave them exactly the type of articles they needed. It seemed silly to make them struggle on their own before showing them the two things they really needed to know.

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