I am thoroughly oriented

As part of my master’s degree I have a teaching assistantship! This means that in return for waiving my tuition and a small stipend I am going to be teaching throughout my degree. I will start off being a teaching assistant for first year composition and after my first two semesters I will be thrown into the lion’s den and teach my own classes. Before we go any further, I think we should all take a minute to realise how hilarious it will be when I am teaching people four years younger than me. So, this week I have spent every day in orientations getting thoroughly oriented. So damn oriented that I never want to go to another orientation ever again. Ever. I don’t even want to hear the word again.

The first two days were spent talking about pedagogy i.e. how we should engage our students and facilitate their learning. Ironically I was neither engaged nor did I learn very much during these sessions. To alleviate my boredom I took to writing down some of the crap hilarity that was coming out of people’s mouths. Gems include but are not limited to the following…

When talking about how classes teach students more than just the subject matter such as patience and organisational skills: “What we are really doing is teaching our students how to be human.”

On students who disrupt the class: “If you prevent a student from talking then you are violating their first amendment right to free speech.”

There were a lot of sassy people with a lot of opinions on teaching. The best moment was when someone called out the coordinator of the orientation for not abiding by her own rules on lecturing and teaching. Unfortunately, these arguments were only a small percentage of the day which was a shame because I found them really funny. Fortunately, the orientation for writing TAs had been scheduled in conflict so I was unable to go to the THIRD (count ’em) day of the teaching orientation. Such a shame. I was truly devastated not to have several more hours spent listening out for quotes to put on my blog. I can’t complain too much though, they did provide free breakfast (How many bagels in one day is too many? That is the real question we should have been asking at TA orientation). The department orientation was a lot more helpful and applicable to what I will actually be doing so I felt a lot more confident having gone to that. And they gave us free PANERA for lunch!! Seeing that wheeled into the room was a moment of pure joy and made everything worth it, I even got to take some leftovers home! I also met the professor I will be TAing for, picked up some books and got to see more of the South campus where I’m going to be once a week for my pedagogy classes.

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Can’t go wrong when your campus has palm trees

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I’m not entirely sure what this is, but I thought it was cool.

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There’s a lot of greenery, fountains and palm trees. It might not be LSU but I really can’t complain.

Then FINALLY today I had international orientation which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve been to international orientation at LSU so I knew I should leave before we got to ‘American classroom etiquette’ which involves useful advice on how Americans shake hands. 

Now that I’m the most oriented person in the world I can start preparing for my classes to start next week. I think I’m going to really enjoy teaching alongside my master’s, and I’ve been really lucky that I’m getting a degree alongside practical experience that is more applicable to the real world.

Everything really kicks off in a couple of days so get ready for blog posts galore next week which are likely to include:

– Let me introduce you to my roommates
– Megan has to take her American driving test
– First week of classes
– British girl cooks Louisianan food in Miami

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