Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I do still exist...

I took more than a temporary break from blogging about my trials and tribulations with teaching. Mainly, because as I mentioned last June (almost a year ago!), I was expecting my first child and not sure whether I was going to teach come the Fall semester.

So what has happened since?

1) I didn't teach in Fall... focused on my research and managed to get a TON done before the baby came. Amazing how much work one can accomplish when they are just working in the lab and not juggling research and teaching.

2) I applied to some faculty jobs due the fact that the husband was about to be relocated for his job. I didn't really think I had a shot at any of the jobs, however, I made the phone interview cut-off for one university. Which I proceeded to have while 9 months pregnant and thought it went AWFUL. More on that to come..

3) I had a baby. A little girl born in December. Yes, her birthday is close to Christmas... and no, I couldn't do anything about that.

4) The phone interview apparently didn't go as badly as I thought, as the university invited me to campus for an in-person interview. However they wanted me to come a month after Baby Girl was born and I was still on maternity leave. I debated it.... but then husband's job ended up not getting relocated and there was no need to move, so I said thanks but no thanks. (I was much more polite in the e-mail to them & tried not to burn any bridges)

5) Maternity leave is over and I'm back at work in the lab. Trying to juggle mommyhood and sciencehood.

6) I put in to team teach a graduate course at a nearby university and our "team" got selected. So come Fall, I will be teaching again, but to a completely different group of students. No longer will I be dealing with undergraduates who are required to take an intro bio course, but with graduate students who want to take an advanced biology course. This teaching should be a lot easier on me as it will only be 5 lectures, and its just once a week. I think this is the perfect way for me to continue to teach and not be pulled away from my family too much.

So thats the update on me...... how is everyone else out there?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The experiment gods are against me.

Have you ever had what should be a simple, simple experiment just NOT work.  No matter what you do, the experiment gods just seem to be against you.  And by this I don't mean, you're not getting the result you predicted (or even want) but that you're not getting ANY result.  That has been my fight of the last 2 weeks.   And right, I'm at the point where I would rather get the opposite result than I really need just so I know the damn experiment is working.


Its times like these, that I think its just best to put that project aside, and deal with something else for a little.  Thankfully, I have enough on my plate that there are many, many other things I can deal with, experiment with, toy with, design, while I wait for the experiment gods to decide to shine upon me.   And at least I am not at the point yet where every thing I touch crumbles in front of me.  Some things are still working, and for that I will count my blessings.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Telling the Boss

So due to the nature of some of my experiments in the lab, I felt I needed to let my PI know that I was expecting and thus wouldn't be able to fool around with some of the more nastier stuff we work with.

Keep in mind, I'm currently only 10 weeks along, not even done with the first trimester yet and hadn't initially planned on telling anyone until we passed that milestone.

Anyway, my PI (who I think I did previously refer to as pretty damn amazing) was actually excited when I told him I was pregnant.  I wasn't quite sure how it would go over (though there is another post-doc in the lab who had a baby 2 years ago so I wasn't the first in the lab to have to tell him such news), but he pleasantly surprised me.   Suddenly he was giving me all this advice (taken from his wife's experience, but of course) and telling me how the birth of his daughter was one of the best moments of his life.


And yes people, I count my blessings every day that I managed to find a lab that..
a) works on something I am very interested in
b) is run by such an awesome person.

Now, I just have to figure out how to tell him that I plan on taking 3 months off once the baby is born....  :)    But I think I'm going to wait a little for that announcement.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The best answer to an exam question

I do have to share this one, wonderful comment I got as an answer to a short answer question on the exam. It was from my favorite student, Mr. J. Mr. J has given me a barrel of trouble over the entire semester. This is his first college class ever, after 15 years out of school (facts that I only found out towards the end of the semester) and he has been full of great comments. Let's just say the guy is not my number #1 fan.

To sum up some of Mr. J's comments over the course of the semester:

"I'm supposed to be learn everything I need to know by just coming to your class. I shouldn't need to put in any other time outside of class."
(In response to my suggestion that he might want to start reading the assigned chapters and doing the suggested problems)

"I didn't know I was supposed to be a mind reader"
(In response to an exam question where he was asked to name the 5 major differences between two scientific processes, and he named just one. He thought he deserved full credit for the question.)

And finally.. the humdinger of them all. Written on his final exam. In answer to the exact same question that he previously answered wrong and responded with his "mind reader" comment. (Note- this was a very important topic, so I did use the SAME question again on the cumulative final. It was also stressed in the study guide for the final. How much more help can I give them???)

And here is Mr. J's answer to the question to name 5 major differences between subject X and Y.....

"Due to your critique of my previous answer to this question, I have chosen to completely forget anything I knew about these two subjects. Thank you for your helpful instructions."

My comment to that answer? A large red X and a big fat ZERO!  

Gotta love some of these students....

(though the last laugh is mine... cause he needed an 80 on the final to pass the class, and unfortunately even with the curve, he only managed a 71. So looks like Mr. J will be someone else's problem next semester. Should I warn them?)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


with Spring semester of 2009.

The final exam is graded (with a tiny curve) and all grades have been entered.  And I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  One course done... many more to come in the future.

Unfortunately, as much as I enjoy teaching, I won't be teaching next semester.  I had a course (Baby Bio) all lined up for Fall, but I had to ask the Dean to remove me from the schedule.  You see, Mr. TempProf and I recently found out we are expecting our first child.  And I don't think I could handle an evening class, 2 nights a week, at 8 months pregnant.   (Especially when you add to that working a full-time post-doc job)

So, as I started this blog to talk about my adventures in teaching, and won't be teaching for a year, this blog will probably not be too active.  I definitely plan to bring it back though as soon as I re-enter the teaching world.  Which will happen.  Cause despite the difficulties I had this semester, I think this is what I'm meant to do.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Home Stretch

I can see it.  I can hear it.  My weary body is beginning to breathe a sound of relief.

Only 2 more lectures to go and then a final exam.  I can do this. 

Lab is finished with.  They had their final the other night, and I've already graded them and tallied the lab grades.

Now just to get through the remaining 3 classes, and then I will have time to devout solely to research.   

I'm on the schedule to teach again come Fall, after a much needed summer break.  We'll see if my class fills.  Registration hasn't started yet.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Read My Mind

Do you know I expect students to read my mind?


Or at least that was what I was informed of yesterday by a student.

He had an issue with his last exam.   I should say he had multiple issues with the exam (mainly stemming from the fact that he got a 62% on it), but I will spare you the details.  Instead I will focus on the fact that apparently I expect my students to read my mind.  Heaven forbid that the information asked about was not only in the book but was also in my lecture powerpoint and was extensively covered in class.

However, this particular student, when asked a short answer question to provide all the major differences between Topic A and Topic B, thought that providing just one difference should have been enough to get him full credit on the question.   He didn't understand why he got less than partial credit on the question and he argued and argued with me.   He kept coming back to the same statement, "I didn't know I was expected to read your mind."

How does fully and completely answering the question require any mind-reading?   I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that it simply requires actually reading the material, paying attention in class, and studying.

But apparently that is too much to ask, and I should just give everyone full credit if they throw the words DNA, RNA or protein into their answer.